Telekinetic Terror! Parents Don’t Want School Producing “Carrie” Musical

Parents at North Farmington High School in Michigan want the school to halt dsnbyayzba
production of “Carrie” as this year’s musical
, reports Aileen Wingblad in the Detroit Free Press. They say it is disturbing and insensitive. My favorite complaint from a parent at the Board of Ed meeting was this:

Lyrics refer to sex, alcohol, marijuana and violence, she noted, which “is making our job as worried parents even harder as we try to keep our children physically and emotionally safe. These lyrics throw all our efforts back in our faces.”

I love that she actually refers to her cohort as parents who have a job to do: worry! In this case, they are worried that a musical is somehow powerful enough to make children emotionally and even PHYSICALLY unsafe. …Does she think Carrie has REAL telekinetic powers?

Abandon hope, all ye who watch the musical based on the movie I was in!

Abandon hope, all ye who watch the musical based on the movie I was in!

But, as a lover of musicals —  and I must add, the lyricist of one that played Off Broadway, back in the day — I must admit part of me is thrilled that anyone would ascribe that much life-changing power to lyrics!

Meantime, here’s a comment on the Detroit Free Press piece I found spot on and inspiring:

I have known [North Farmington High School’s theatrical director] Dean Cobb for over 25 years. I was fortunate to be the first person at NFHS to be in 4 musicals at North, having been a freshman when the musical theatre program began in 1990 (I played The Wizard in the Wizard of Oz). Dean not only taught me to love theatre, he taught me to believe in myself and he taught me to work hard to achieve my goals. At a time when I was having a hard time talking with my parents (as many teens do) Dean became a confidant and mentor. In the years I have known Dean, I have seen and heard him teach students about positive self worth, respect for one another and to celebrate diversity. Today, I am the artistic director of a theatre company in NYC ( that is dedicated to using theatre as a tool for change and inspiration of social justice. I owe my fulfilling career to the lessons and inspiration of Dean Cobb.

I encourage anyone who objects to the performance of Carrie at NFHS to take a good look at the story. It shows how young people suffer at the hands of bullies. It shows that mental illness differs from religious belief. It also shows what constant isolation and taunting can do to the mental health of young people. It is a story that bears repetition.

I applaud the administration of NFHS and the FPS for its continued support of the performing arts at North Farmington High School and I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Dean and Sue Cobb and Lucy Koviac for their years of guidance and support.

Randy B. Topper
Artistic Director,
IlluminArt Productions
NFHS Calss of 1993

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97 Responses to Telekinetic Terror! Parents Don’t Want School Producing “Carrie” Musical

  1. BL March 10, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

    Blah blah insensitive blah blah reach out blah blah empower blah blah settle disputes …

    Just blah blah the same old empty buzzwords.

  2. hineata March 10, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

    Sorry Lenore, am not sure I agree with you on this one. I love Stephen King books, but, really, can’t see how this would fly as a musical. Not seeing why it’s necessary to pick something so ‘out there’ to perform.

    And maybe our censorship laws are different to yours, but I’m pretty sure it ‘carries’ an R16 rating here. Because, after all, it’s a horror story, and a fairly horrific one at that, for a bunch of reasons, not just the final scenes.

    Just my opinion, but I don’t think it’s suitable for high school.

  3. anonymous this time March 10, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    Wouldn’t buy a ticket m’self… not so keen on buckets of blood.

  4. Donna March 10, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

    Seems like an odd choice since it only played on Broadway for a month and is considered a huge flop.

    My only concern if my daughter was in the play would be that I would have to sit through it. Definitely not my cup of tea.

  5. Warren March 10, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

    These parents would have hated our high school. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was our greatest success.

    They are making a musical out of Carrie. I highly doubt that done in a high school it will have anywhere near the effect as the movie.

    People have got to relax and exercise their right. The right to shut up and just not attend the play.

    I say go for it, it sounds like it would be a challenging but fun production to be apart of.

  6. hineata March 10, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

    @Warren – I knew the Rocky Horror Show would come up somewhere. Totally different beast, just a comedy, or at least that’s how it’s done here. Even starred an ex-PM once, who did a great job BTW.

    Tell you what, why don’t high schools start doing ‘Saw’ as a musical? That would be a heck of a lot of fun, and have a less complex storyline to put up. Or ‘Halloween’? Or ‘Friday the 13th’. That would be an excellent production for Canadian schools, with all those hockey masks lying around.

  7. Warren March 10, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

    Well why not do Halloween, or one of them as a musical?

    By the way the original Halloween is a classic, and one of my favorite movies. My kids have been watching it with me on Halloween since they were around 8 or 9.

    Why not let them do material they enjoy? Not everything has to be a deep life altering experience. Sometimes it is just fun.

    No matter what play they decide to do, someone somewhere will be offended, will disagree or just plain hate it.
    So I say go for it, and screw all those against it.

  8. Chihiro March 10, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

    Parents are getting upset about lyrics pertaining to drugs, alcohol, sex, and violence? Do they really think teenagers aren’t all aware of these things? That they aren’t involved with a lot of it? Heck, most music teenagers listen to now are full of racy stuff like this.

    Though I do think doing ‘Carrie’ for a high school play is inappropriate. I haven’t read ‘Carrie’ yet, but from what I hear, it’s nightmare-inducing. There are fourteen-year-olds in high school, and not all of them are emotionally mature enough to handle something like ‘Carrie’. Not to mention a high school play should really be something family-friendly, something a parent of an actor can take their younger kids to. Carrie would certainly not be that.

  9. Coasterfreak March 10, 2014 at 11:12 pm #

    I don’t know anything about the Carrie musical, so I can’t comment on the lyrics to the songs. But you know, if there are things that are too objectionable in a song or two, they can change the lyrics or omit the song. Recently our local high school did Spam-A-Lot, and although it carried an advertised “PG” rating, they did censor some language.

    A couple of years ago the high school did Night of the Living Dead. I know from experience that that stage show involves LOTS of stage blood, yet the high school version contained none, so even though I know the climactic scene in Carrie involves a bucket of pig’s blood, I’ll bet they could find a way to do it without going overboard.

    The point is, there’s ways of getting around potentially offensive material.

    And here’s another thing — back when I was a freshman in high school (1984), our drama department did a Neil Simon play that contained a segment in which a father took his shy, virgin, teenage son to a brothel to get him some action. My parents didn’t approve and we had to leave. So, although people seem to have forgotten it these days, they DO have the right to leave if they don’t like something. High school plays are for teenagers and adults, and they don’t always have to be sanitized to a G-rating. That’s what elementary school plays are for.

  10. SOA March 10, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

    I love musicals. I would love to see this musical. However some musicals are for more of an adult audience than others. They are not all created equal. So I would have to see this one to really say whether it would be high school appropriate or not. You don’t see high schoolers performing “Hair” for obvious reasons.

    I used to work at a theater in college and because it was a theater mostly financed by cute little old Baptist Southern ladies, they could not do any risque musicals. So it was all “Annie” and the “Sound of Music” and no “Chorus Line” or “Rent”. The Director was bummed most of the time about it.

  11. Warren March 11, 2014 at 12:24 am #

    Remember this is theatre not bible study.

    As for high school plays being small child friendly….why is that a requirement? If it is more adult content, and you want to attend, then get a babysitter, perhaps even a male one.

    And why not do Hair, or Jesus Christ Superstar, Little Shop of Horrors, or Tommy?

    The production of Phantom of the Opera I saw in Toronto would scare the crap out of some people.

    All I am saying is you don’t like it, don’t go, but do not think you have the right to stop it from being produced.

  12. Donna March 11, 2014 at 1:39 am #

    Warren – The high school is not making up the musical. It has existed since 1988 as an adult Broadway musical that seems very close to the movie, or as close as it can be considering the recurring outbreaks of singing.

    Personally, I have no interest in seeing any version, but whatever.

  13. Donna March 11, 2014 at 1:44 am #

    SOA – High schoolers have done Hair. They take out the nude scene obviously, but it has been done.

  14. Warren March 11, 2014 at 2:15 am #

    I meant they are making their own production, Donna. Do to budget and venue differences, the school’s production will be their own, and probably quite different than the commercial version.

    And yes we are well aware of your dislike for horror. Though you really do not know what you are missing.

    As for your comments, you just cannot help yourself can you. You deny it, but you come off as the bitch no matter what.

  15. Sha March 11, 2014 at 2:56 am #

    And people cried and clutched their proverbial pearls in my town over Little Shop of Horrors and Grease and Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell. And that was in the 1980s. I’m sure the town I’m living in now has it’s issues with musicals and plays. These sorts of people will always be around, forever and ever. Just be sure to have a backup musical in mind when you tell the board or principal what your plans are. But don’t ask permission from the parents. They don’t have to go to the musical or allow their child in the musical. And they need to be told that. Firmly.
    And why do little kids have to be at every single everloving thing teens and adults do? Gah.

  16. Andy March 11, 2014 at 3:34 am #

    @hineata Derivative work does not have to have the same rating as original one. It is often easy to lighten violence and put cloth on actors. Plus, if R16 means “over 16” then it sounds to be in high school age range.

    Honestly, I do not care one way or the other. I do not know about the play, but it sounds like something I would not mind. But, I accept that many people have different opinions on how much swearing, violence or sex talk is appropriate in school play.

    I would just prefer if people would stop to make up bullshit about “emotion safety” to get an easy win. It would be easier for me to accept “I want to take younger sibling or grandma and not offend her”.

  17. marie March 11, 2014 at 6:39 am #

    These lyrics throw all our efforts back in our faces.

    Those lyrics? What are your kids listening to under those Beats? What movies are they streaming on their smartphones and laptops?

  18. MichaelF March 11, 2014 at 7:34 am #

    I agree with the sentiment that is the lyrics are that offensive then these parents must not let their kids listen to pop music. Miley Cyrus recent lyrics would fall short of these limits if that is what this mother is worried about. Of course in that case then her kids better be going to a college that DOESN’T have other students involved in any of those things; though I bet they go on in the high school.

    Although I suspect Carrie is not my first choice, it’s usually up to the kids if they want to do it. Just because it was chosen if the kids were not interested in some level it would go nowhere.

  19. kate March 11, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    I don’t understand. There are high School kids don’t know that alchohol, sex, drugs and violence exist? Have they not turned on the tv or listened to popular music lately? If they hear these lyrics do the parents expect them to go out and drink, get high, have sex and commit violent acts??

  20. Elayne Petrucci March 11, 2014 at 8:20 am #

    I’ve been a theatre director for almost 20 years and I fully agree with North Farmington’s decision to produce “Carrie.” I agree with its valuable message. However, as with ANYthing…parents have the right and the responsibility to decide whether or not their children see the production. If, for some reason, you don’t agree with the message, and it’s not as though this is some unknown production, don’t go to it!

  21. Donna March 11, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    Warren – I definitely not the one who came off the bitch in this thread. Nobody was being unpleasant, but you just can’t help yourself. Can we go back to the topic and stop with your incessant need to harass people?

  22. lollipoplover March 11, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    First, never describe the job of parenting to be just worried parents. Second, if I worried about something as a parent (say drugs) I would want to talk about it as much as possible, not avoid it in the real world, to better prepare my child to make wise choices. Trying to ban controversial topics won’t make them go away. You child WILL find out about these topics on their own and they probably already know much more than you. The snow plow parenting approach generally doesn’t work anymore once kids are teens. Have you listen to kids music these days?

  23. BL March 11, 2014 at 9:23 am #

    @Elayne Petrucci
    “If, for some reason, you don’t agree with the message, and it’s not as though this is some unknown production, don’t go to it!”

    Better yet, if you disagree, how about a reasoned critique?

    “Disturbing”, “insensitive”, “inappropriate” don’t tell us much.

    A complaint says the lyrics “refer to sex, alcohol, marijuana and violence”. So did the complaint, obviously.
    Should the complaint be banned?

  24. Christine Hancock March 11, 2014 at 10:10 am #

    I’m going to have to say, that while the argument that “Carrie” could physically endanger students is a stupid one, I would object as a parent to the content. “Social Justice” seems to be the noble(ish) fight of our day, but a high school musical should be family appropriate; Seeing as how these are students with parents and siblings who might actually want to support their family member and see what they’ve been rehearsing. Leave the adult themes and content for adult performers and with an adult audience.

  25. anonymous mom March 11, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    You know, I can see both sides. Depending on the script, I’m not sure this is a play I’d want my own children, especially if they were younger high school students, participating in, or that I’d want to go see.

    But, as a parent, I can make that decision without insisting the play get shut down. I can simply tell my kids that I don’t feel this is appropriate for them and our family, and they can either miss out on drama for that year (and learn that sometimes sticking to your principles isn’t easy, and isn’t supposed to be easy) or find them a community alternative. Or start a community alternative, if it means that much to me.

    If the school is okay with the play, and the students are excited about it, and it’s not clearly, wildly inappropriate, I don’t see why I should expect the entire community to bow to my personal beliefs or preferences.

  26. Karen March 11, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    Our high school theater dept just did Avenue Q–but it was the high school version, which dropped the rating from R to PG-13. Don’t know if there is a high school version of Carrie. I do think that, in choosing which shows to produce, schools have to balance finding shows that will be engaging and relevant for the students but will also be community-friendly. I’d be bummed if the big production of the year for my kid was something I’d be reluctant to invite younger siblings, grandparents, etc. to see.

  27. Havva March 11, 2014 at 10:37 am #

    @SOA, according to the linked article this high school has done “Hair” also “The Laramie Project” and “Tommy.”

    As to the parental outrage…I haven’t seen any version of “Carrie” so I’m just going by the article, and a general sense that high school age young people seem to have a developmental need to explore social boundaries i.e. that which is inappropriate.

    The article says some parents think this play has “a message of hate and intolerance.” Something I might object to, except that is contradicted by the nature of the parental disgust. The worried mom’s quote starts with: “The takeaway or lasting impression from this play that our students and parents will leave with is that same sick feeling that always comes when horrible people do horrible things to other people,”

    So apparently she is trying to keep her kids ’emotionally safe’ from feeling…that there is such a thing as right and wrong?

    Going out on a limb here. It seems to me like her kids could use a play like this to allow them to experience the “sick feeling that always comes when horrible people do horrible things to other people.” Since we can’t stop horrible people from doing horrible things to other people; I can’t really support this mother’s quest to prevent her children from feeling sickened by horrible people. Isn’t that a quest to raise sociopaths?

  28. Earth.W March 11, 2014 at 10:39 am #

    I bet these complainants are keen to take little children to a play where a man is whipped, beaten, nailed to a plank of wood and left to die of starvation and heat exhaustion without a single thought of the violence portrayed.

  29. Neil M March 11, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    I think “Carrie” is certainly a courageous choice, but not an inappropriate one. If art’s not challenging it’s not very good art, don’t you think?

    As has been said, however, those parents who are overly concerned are certainly free to let their kids go see one of the “Twilight” movies instead. There, the girls can learn that having a boyfriend is the most important part of life and boys can learn that sneaking into a girl’s room and watching her sleep is merely a display of devotion.

  30. Jen (P.) March 11, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    For those of you who mentioned Hair and Tommy, the story lists those as productions that have “rattled” parents in that district in the past (along with The Laramie Project)–so not only have those shows been performed in high schools, evidently they’ve been performed in that high school.

    It’s very common for the content of musicals to be adapted for performance in schools. My daughter’s junior high is doing Hairspray this spring, and the version they are staging changes some of the lyrics to be more appropriate for that age group. So if you’re one of the few people who saw Carrie on Broadway, I wouldn’t assume a high school production would be the same. The article also notes it’s considered PG-13, which says to me it shouldn’t be out of bounds for a high school production. If you don’t want your kid to participate or attend, don’t let him, but it doesn’t seem fair to censor it on those grounds.

    Incidentally, I let my 10yo participate in a high school “horror” production last fall. A friend’s daughter was taking a theater class and one of their assignments was to write and produce a spooky skit for Halloween. They needed a kid to play the ghost of a child who’d drowned when the car she was riding in slid off a bridge. After reading the script I agreed to let her do it and then once she got there a couple of the other student groups wanted her in their skits too. She had a ball.

  31. CrazyCatLady March 11, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    I performed in Oliver when I was in high school. Lets see, it is about the lost bastard son of a wealthy man whose daughter became estranged (when pregnant) she had the baby and she died, leaving only a locket to identify the child.

    The orphanage starves the kids. There are several fight, one which involves little Oliver getting hit by an adult. One involves the shooting death of two characters. There is the bar scene with the song “Oom Pa Pa” that talks about drinking and the loose life of prostitutes. There is a gang of thieves who promote their lifestyle through song.

    I don’t know, bullying seems pretty mild to me.

  32. anonymous mom March 11, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    @Karen, I think a lot of this depends on the mission of the high school drama club: is it to put on a play for the entire community to enjoy (in which case Carrie may not be a good choice), or is it to provide an educational and creative experience for the students, with less emphasis on a wide audience? Are they putting on a show mostly for their peers, or mostly for the community?

    When I was growing up, my town had an all-ages summer drama program that was intended to create a show for the community. Most of the main actors and actresses were high schoolers, but younger kids were also involved, and the shows were always family-friendly. The high school drama program was aimed more specifically at the high school, and not at the entire town. So, they would put on “edgier” and less kid-friendly shows.

    I think either approach is fine, but you can’t expect a drama program that is not really designed to provide community entertainment to do so or get upset when it doesn’t. On the other hand, I agree Carrie might not be a good choice for a program that is designed to provide entertainment for the all-ages, wider community.

  33. Gina March 11, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    CENSORSHIP is wrong.

    Easy solution:
    Don’t read, see, listen too what YOU find offensive. You don’t have the right to stop others from reading, seeing, listening…

  34. LadyTL March 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    I find it kind of hilarious that Shakespeare is considered good high school material what with all the blood, sex, drugs, murder and betrayal but if it is something made in the last century with any of that then suddenly kids supposedly can’t handle it.

    When done correctly Hamlet or Macbeth is just as bloody and conveys just as many difficult messages as Carrie.

  35. BL March 11, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    I suppose when they study history they leave out all the wars.

  36. Warren March 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    Listen to the bunch of you. Mission of the drama club, age appropriate, educational experience…………and so on. Time for a good ole book burnin if you ask me.

    They are high school students. Someone suggested Carrie the majority a went “Cool!” and it was voted in.

    Everything you all think the play should be about is secondary. The students are just trying to put on a play they will have fun doing.

    All those against it, can just stay home and listen to their favorite show on the radio, while sitting in their rockers on the porch.

  37. Jen (P.) March 11, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

    It’s not very likely that’s how the play was selected, Warren. It was probably chosen by faculty in that department. In any event, what’s wrong with considering things like the intended audience anyway? Presumably they want people to come see it.

    Now my eldest recently joined a high school community theater group. They get to decide what to perform in the way you describe. I’m sure the decision making process is rather different than a group of teachers deciding what the school play will be, but even they give some thought to who will see the performance in addition to what they think would be fun.

  38. Papilio March 11, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    Aawwww, Carrie, that poor, poor girl. If anyone needed a loving, protective parent it was her.

  39. anonymous mom March 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    @Warren: “The students are just trying to put on a play they will have fun doing.”

    If that’s all they are doing, then I think they are missing out on a significant educational component of the experience. I’m not sure if this is part of a school drama course or an extracurricular activity, which would also make a difference. But with any kind of art, thinking about the intended audience and how to balance their needs and expectations with your own creative expression is a significant part of learning and maturing.

    Sure, the students can simply choose a play that they think sounds fun to put on. (Although, in this case, it sounds like the choice was not made by the students, but the drama teacher.) But, if they want people to actually come to their show, they need to consider things beyond that. Who do they want to come to the show: their families, their classmates, everybody in the community? That’s going to matter.

    If a group of kids just wants to get together to have fun putting on a play, that’s cool, and they can do that. But most school-sponsored drama clubs are going to have an educational component that goes beyond that. And thinking through things like intended audience and the purpose of the performance and how the selected play will impact that is a huge educational opportunity.

  40. John March 11, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    From seeing the “Carrie” movie, I, for the life of me cannot figure out how they could make a musical out of a movie like that. But my strong hunch is, it will not have the blood and guts and gore in the onstage musical like it did the movie. I think the musical is merely trying to make a point about something, i.e., crazy people, abused kids, etc. so I don’t think it’s anything a parent should throw a hissy fit over.

    In fact, I have friends who used to watch “Southpark” with their young kids who were 6- and 9-years-old at the time. Now if I had young kids that age, I don’t think I’d let them watch that show but their kids are now all grown up and turned out just fine. Respectable married adults with high paying jobs. So perhaps we over react to all of the “bad influences” there are on our kids which in the long run, probably don’t have any bad incluence on them at all.

  41. JJ March 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    Our high school just did “Fame”. Lots of adult themes and language–sex, drug overdose, even dyslexia! Why perform plays and musicals with adult themes in high school instead of Little Mermaid and Into the Woods? Because high school kids (and let’s face it probably theater kids even more so) are interested in and ready for these adult themes. Performing and watching such productions makes for a much more meaningful and inspiring artistic experience versus something geared towards 9-year olds. You want your 17-year old to ever see a second play? Then hope Lion King isn’t his first play. And come on, how many well known plays or musicals don’t have “adult” themes. Grease, Little Shop of Horrors, Anything Goes–they all have “objectionable” content if you think about it. And what are they reading for English Lit as juniors and seniors? Hopefully something with “adult” and “sensitive” themes. That is what they connect with. That is what speaks to them. That, if we are lucky, will be what leads them to see value in arts and literature.

    Personally, I’d love to see a stage version of Carrie and I bet my jock kids (who have little interest in the arts) would as well.

  42. Maggie March 11, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

    How many schools are put on performances of “Grease” ? Lots of them. Have ya listened to some of those lyrics?

    “…refer to sex, alcohol, marijuana and violence”.

    Has anyone listened to what teens talk about? As parents, they should also be talking to their kids about: “sex, alcohol, marijuana and violence”, because all 4 are common subjects seen or discussed daily in various settings, including:

    1-The news
    2-TV shows
    7-History books
    8-Health class

    Oh no, someone might be exposed to something they are already exposed to daily! The horror!

  43. lollipoplover March 11, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    Has anyone listened to what teens talk about?

    I bet Dean Cobb, the high school’s theater director for over 25 years does. I also, for the life of me, cannot fathom how this would be a good musical but he probably does.

    How I wish someone would do more *relevant* high school theater productions. Marijuana and alcohol, sex and violence? Pffft. Oxy and heroin more like. Please bring attention to the fact that where I live, more teens are dying of drug overdoses (we lost 3 teens last week to a batch of *bad* heroin) than auto accidents. These kids were from good homes and made bad choices that cost them their lives.

  44. Gary March 11, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    “Lyrics refer to sex, alcohol, marijuana and violence, she noted, which “is making our job as worried parents even harder as we try to keep our children physically and emotionally safe. These lyrics throw all our efforts back in our faces.””

    I guess then these “worried parents” do not let their children read, listen to music, watch movies, interact with other people or anything else for that matter.

    nuke it.

  45. mrjosephsdad March 11, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    so with all the talk about whether or not it’s appropriate for high schoolers, i wonder if the parents are asking the school library to take Carrie off the shelf as well? i seem to remember our high school library had a plethora of King novels. as well as encyclopedias, dictionaries, history books and other fiction and non-fiction that depicted sex, drugs, violence, etc.

  46. Ben March 11, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    Unless they’re planning on using real blood in the production, I see no reason to object. Randy had it right when he said it was about peer pressure and bullying — a topic that bears repetition.

    Not being allowed to perform a musical because parents are oversensitive is not going to keep kids emotionally and physically safe. It’s going to annoy them and cause a disconnect and possibly lead to the very things you’re trying to avoid.

    The mere mention of sex, alcohol, marijuana and violence is not going to turn those kids into criminals. Showing them the effects those things have will do a better of job of keeping them on the right path than sheltering them from all of it.

    If you’re squeamish, don’t feel obliged to attend the performance, but high school kids are not fragile china plates. Give them a little support in their creative endeavors.

  47. JJ March 11, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    Maybe I am misremembering the movie but isn’t there a notable irony in all this in that Carrie’s mother was (among other things) grossly over-protective?

  48. Stacy March 11, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    Our high school puts on excellent musicals that draw the entire community. The elementary school kids are bused to the theater for a preview and beg their families to take them. For most kids, the high school musical is their first introduction to attending live theater. So honestly, I don’t think Carrie a good choice for a high school musical. It doesn’t have to be G rated or aimed at nine-year-olds. Over the years, they’ve done musicals like Grease, Fame, and Little Shop with a little editing and a few things that go over little heads. But Carrie? Can that be anything but disturbing? I remember how I felt watching the movie as a teenager and can’t imagine an entertaining musical?

  49. Stacy March 11, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    Now that I think about it, I do remember being creeped out when they did Little Shop since I was just old enough to “get it,” but Carrie is still on another level.

    It’s not censorship but rather thinking about what works best for your audience and your young performers, who are not all going to be comfortable with this level of horror.

  50. Warren March 11, 2014 at 5:52 pm #


    That is exactly how most high schools choose their plays.

    The musicians, actors and crew are given a list of choices, that they submitted and there is a vote. That is how we did it, that is how my oldest daughter’s school did it, and now my youngest daughter just did that way.

    As for who will attend………..only extremely moronic family members would refuse to attend. If you cannot put your personal crap aside to support your kid……….well then you shouldn’t be a parent.

  51. JJ March 11, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

    @Warren…huh? I have no idea to what, in my posts, you are responding.

  52. Nic March 11, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

    I remember watching this movie as a teenager, it was disturbing and I have not wanted to view it again. Just because teens are used to the content described, doesn’t make it a great choice for the school to reproduce. Do they need shock factor to get a message across? Perhaps schools, as my kids school has done, could write their own performances.

  53. ifsogirl March 11, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

    In the mid 90’s my highschool did Bram Stoker’s Dracula. If anyone remembers the movie it was very sexual, hell vampires represent sex. They chose to include the scene where Johnathan Harker is visited by the succubi, but it was a much, much tamer scene than the movie. No one complained about it or really even mentioned it.

  54. Donna March 11, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

    This is a play that played for a grand total of 2 months spread over 25 years. It is considered one of the biggest flops in musical theater. I seriously doubt the students came up with the suggestion unless there is some extremely obscure musical aficionado in the school.

    We never got a vote in our school plays. They were chosen by the drama teacher. I’m even sure how a vote would work. It is a school-wide play so does the whole school vote? Not necessarily determinative as to what the small handful of students who will actually try out for the play really want to perform.

    Its not my cup of tea but kinda sounds better than some of the boring crap schools end up performing. It is at least unique.

  55. Jenna K. March 11, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

    While I’m all about being free range, I’m not sure I agree here. I do believe that it is our job as parents to make sure that our children are not exposed to things that are too adult or just not appropriate for their age and development. While I have never seen “Carrie” and don’t quite know what it is, if it is overtly sexual, has a lot of swearing, any nudity or partial nudity, I do not think it is appropriate for high schoolers to perform. Not because I’m so worried and this adds to that, but because I want to expose my children to good, wholesome, enlightening entertainment that uplifts them and things with a lot of bad language and too much sexuality and too much violence are not appropriate for developing minds and spirits.

  56. Warren March 11, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    Sorry JJ, meant Jen. My apologies.

    Of course you didn’t get to vote Donna. Look at the school systems down there. Random locker searches, random car searches, not allowed to leave the campus………..of course the school dictators/admins will dictate what students can and cannot produce dramatically.

    We were never subjected to any of that crap, and neither does the schools my kids have and do attend.
    Two totally different systems.

  57. Reziac March 11, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    I agree with BL. I am SO sick of people using “insensitive” to censor anything they disagree with.

  58. everydayrose March 11, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

    I remember reading Carrie when I was a young teenager and not being bothered by it, but I don’t remember much about the book since it’s been 20 or more years since I read it.

    I did, however, just rent the newer version of the movie because my 12 year old daughter has been begging to see it for months. My 9 year old daughter gets frightened very easily and won’t watch anything that’s even slightly scary, but she sat through this movie no problem. None of us found it scary at all, and the main message that seemed to come across is that it’s not ok to bully, and you should always stand up to people who are even if they’re your friends. All in all, not something that I think should be a problem in a high school play.

  59. Kenny Felder March 11, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

    True story. My son’s high school just put on a performance of “Beauty and the Beast.” But they censored a few lines because apparently this DISNEY MOVIE is too adult for high school students.

  60. Donna March 11, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

    Warren, I graduated high school 25 years ago, not yesterday. The choice of the musical was based what the drama teacher could get the rights to, what he thought he could stage, funding, what he wanted to stage, etc.

    I’m not even sure that I support a vote. Who votes? Just the drama club? The entire school?

  61. Lisa March 11, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

    Why does a high school play need to be appropriate for young kids? Here, the youth theaters (cast as young as 2nd grade) do shows that are geared towards a younger audience. My daughter just did her first middle school play and it was great to have them do something not geared towards such young kids – they did”Guys and Dolls”, and while it wouldn’t have been my choice for a show to bring a young kid to, the audience (primarily adults and middle schoolers there to see friends) loved it. High school kids, who are presumably not only the actors but likely the target audience, may prefer this to a show they see as more appropriate for little kids. I hope there are shows for ALL age groups out there; not everything teens do needs to be geared towards younger kids.

    If a parent doesn’t like the Director’s choice of shows, they can always opt not to allow their kid to participate. Honestly, though… It’s just a show. No actual danger involved. I watched the movie Carrie in high school, and although I can’t imagine it as a musical I wouldn’t have a problem with it. But then, I generally don’t censor art – my kid listened to the Mamma Mia soundtrack in preschool, saw Wicked at age 8, and we’re going to see Cabaret this summer. She knows the difference between a performance and real life, and that there are words she sings when practicing showtunes that she isn’t allowed to speak… It’s not a problem.

  62. SOA March 11, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

    When I said child friendly I meant anyone under 18 friendly. Little Shop of Horrors (my fav musical) I think would be fine. I have not seen Carrie musical so I can’t really comment on it. Hair would be okay if they got rid of the nude scene but in its pure form, not under 18 okay. Rent would be iffy just because of the drug use.

    No, you don’t have to bring little kids everywhere nor do you have to make a high school musical little kid friendly. I was referring more to appropriate for the kids performing it.

  63. SOA March 11, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

    Let’s not forget “Tommy” teaches an important Free range lesson I always tell people. It is not the random stranger lurking in the bushes your kid is most likely to be molested by. It is the creepy uncle that likes to diddle about diddle about diddle about that is more likely to do the molesting.

    Now that is one scene that would maybe be not cool for young kids to perform.

    That being said my parents took me to every musical that came to town no matter what it was including Tommy, Cats, Chorus Line, West Side Story, etc from a young age.

  64. Ben March 12, 2014 at 2:33 am #

    SOA, you object to Rent on the basis that it includes drug use, but isn’t the drug use itself less important than how its portrayed? A play that includes drug use but spends considerable time explaining it is a bad choice is a lot better than a play where it is thrown in just for shock value.

    The same goes for nudity. Teens acting nude in school is illegal, but a bare torso in Tarzan is something completely different.

  65. Warren March 12, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    Donna living in a democracy and you would not support a vote? Nice.

    Like I said, the actors, musicians, support crew would all bring in suggestions. Then the senior members of the club would narrow them down to 3 or so, and then the actors, musicians and crew would vote on it.

    Two totally different systems of education. It appears to be in the states that the state controls everything, where our system encourages students to take control of their lives. After all they are the ones doing all the work.

  66. Warren March 12, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    Producing play, all that goes into it is the learning experience. So why in the blue hell is everyone hung up on the content of the work be a learning experience/teachable moment/whatever?

    Why does it have to be anything more than fun to do? Even high school students are allowed to just have fun.

    And yes you may not like or totally hate the content of the play, but that is neither here nor there. If you love someone, and I assume that people love their kids you support them. You put aside your own personal crap and support them. You sit your ass in the seat, and support your performers. It is not about the content. It is about the performer having the courage to put themselves out there.

  67. Donna March 12, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    Warren – I asked WHO voted. I absolutely don’t support the full school vote because opinions are like assholes – every one has one. Ask the general student body their opinion and they will probably tell you despite the fact that they have absolutely no intention of being in the play or even going to see it. The performers are then stuck with the results. Leave it to just the drama club for a vote and I’m fine with it. But I have no problem with the drama teacher narrowing the choices to what he can stage and afford. That is the reality of life.

    That said, again, I would be shocked if this was a student suggestion. It is a completely obscure play. This is a teacher pushing what he wants to do. I think the parental reasons for not wanting the play are stupid, but what do the kids want? None of my drama friends were excited about doing our musical my senior year. They all did it because drama was their thing, but the entire play had a blah vibe. Do these kids want to do this obscure play? Nobody is talking to them.

  68. Natalie March 12, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    Typical, and not really a symptom of helicopter parenting, although it may coincide with it.

    There have always been objections to kids learning content that is controversial. Long before helicopter parenting loomed it’s ugly head in the 90s.

    I can see a difference in that the school play is put on and attended and not learned and discussed in a classroom setting such as some famous books that have been banned at schools at some point in history, or controversial contemporary issues, etc. (perhaps only “studied” by the drama group that is putting it on).

    If it was me taking my kid to see this play, that’s fine. I’m making that decision. I know how old my kid is. i think there are a lot of relevant issues brought up that could be/should be discussed. I don’t think that I, personally, would have a problem with my kids seeing it as put on as a school play.

    But I can understand other parents who would have a problem with it. It’s not the same thing as watching the movie in English class and then discussing the issues brought up. It’s just a play, there’s no framework for watching it, and highschool ages vary from 14 – 18. Depending on how the play is edited (like removing the nude dancing scenes/skinny dipping, etc in Hair) it really is giving the school liscense to show your kids a play with “R” rated themes.

    So while that may be fine with me, I can see how that would be a problem for other parents.

    I wouldn’t “object to the objection”. If I thought that seeing the play was THAT important to my kid’s development, rather than protest it, then I would simply take them to the play elsewhere, or rent the movie.

    We could talk about how remakes with Chloe Moretz mostly suck. And watch the originals.

  69. E March 12, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    Not that it matters in the scope of this post’s point, but our children’s HS’s play and musical selections are done by the Theater Dept staff, not the students. They are planned a year in advance (most times) in order to do all the things that Donna pointed out.

    The selections have been thought provoking and challenging for the students (and in some cases the audience). I’d go so far as to say that the most recent Theater Instructor has chosen so far off the map that some people are actually yearning for a more fun/popular musical.

    There are a lot of factors that go into it (this director is mindful to pick straight plays that have large casts to be as inclusive as possible — and that’s not always easy) including using parts in competition.

    We have no idea why the Carrie selection was made, but I’m guessing the experienced Teacher knows what they are doing.

    Our HS had selections that were not suitable for younger children (both in regard to the plays complexity and one violent scene) and that made it known.

    I was involved in theater 30 years ago in HS and our theater teacher made ALL of the selections. They were all mainstream but she didn’t poll the students.

  70. Natalie March 12, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    How original! Calling someone a bitch when you have lost the ability to express yourself and have to resort to sexist slurs!

    Gosh, I never see anyone embarrassing themselves on the internet and undermining any points they were trying to make at the time because they were clinging onto the idea that throwing a tantrum and calling a woman names is effective at silencing her when she was clearly their intellectual superior.

    What’s that? You’re interested in the history of the word “bitch?” I’m so glad you asked! Here you go! (from an MIT grad)

    Bitch: A History

    Bitch is one of the most complicated insults in the English language. A bitch typically means a lewd, malicious, irritating woman (the comparison being to a dog in heat), but some women self-identify as bitches to indicate they are strong, assertive and independent. A son of a bitch is generally a despicable or otherwise hateful man, but can also mean a dear friend who has done something impressive or clever. If something is bitchin’ it is deemed to be particularly cool or in-style, but if a person is bitching they are complaining or whining. To be someone’s bitch is to be his or her servant or slave, to sit in the bitch seat is to sit in the under-sized seat in the middle of a car, to bitch slap is to strike with an open palm. Bitch might have originally meant a female dog, but now it can indicate anything from slapstick humor to scathing insult.

    The rise of bitch through history can be traced to 4 distinct periods: The Definition, The Rise, the Reclamation, and the Popularization. The last 3 can be tied to specific events in American feminism.

    I: The Definition

    Insulting a woman by calling her a female dog pre-dates the existence of the word bitch itself. The English language historian Geoffrey Hughes suggests the connection came about because of the Greek goddess of the hunt, Artemis (Diana in the Roman pantheon) who was often portrayed with a pack of hunting dogs and sometimes transformed into an animal herself. In Ancient Greece and Rome the comparison was a sexist slur equating women to dogs in heat, sexually depraved beasts who grovel and beg for men.

    The modern word bitch comes from the Old English bicce, which probably developed from the Norse bikkje, all meaning ‘female dog’. Its use as an insult was propagated into Old English by the Christian rulers of the Dark Age to suppress the idea of femininity as sacred. The insult “son of a bitch” (biche sone in Old English) originated to ridicule spiritual pagans, who worshipped the bitch goddess Diana1. The phrase evolved to mean a generally despicable or otherwise hateful man. Shakespeare, that master of verbal barbs, uses the insult twice in his plays. Once in Troilus and Cressida (1602), in the opening of Act II as Ajax comes upon Thersites.

    Thou bitch-wolf’s son, canst thou not hear?

    [beating him]

    Feel, then.

    And again in King Lear (1606), when the Earl of Kent is greeting Oswald:

    …[thou] art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch.

    Interestingly, nowhere in his collected works does Shakespeare ever use the word to insult a woman. At first, one might think this reveals a chivalrous objection to insulting women – but a similar search for whore reveals five pages of results. As a playwright known for his imaginative (and numerous) insults, his omission of bitch as a female insult indicates something about the common usage of the word in his time. In fact, much of the documented usage of the word from the 16th and 17th centuries is in reference to a man, not a woman. In Henry Brinklow’s 1524 Complaynt of Roderyck Mor, he calls out the hypocrisy of the clergy for valuing un-wed chastity by describing the bishops “as chast as a sawt bytch.” In modern English: “as pure as a randy bitch.” An early 16th century manuscript known only as “The Porkington Manuscript” includes a re-telling of a humorous story about a Friar and a cheeky Boy. The Friar, complaining of the Boy’s antics, says “Be God, he ys a schrewd byche, In fayth, y trow, he be a wyche.” In modern English: “By god, he is a shrewd bitch. In faith, I know, he is a witch.”

    It seems the Dark Age Christian attempt to re-purpose the insult worked. While the word by itself may have described a female entity, its abusive power at the end of the Middle Ages lied in its application to a man – not only putting him down by calling him a woman, but further dehumanizing by equating him with a dirty female animal.

    The 18th century saw a return to the original insulting meaning of bitch. Indeed, use of the insult grew so dominant that it finally forced the literal meaning of the word, that of female dog, out of common circulation. While science publications and dog enthusiast communities retained the word bitch, various euphemisms such as doggess, lady dog, she dog, and puppy’s mother were more commonly used. The usage of bitch held steady for the next 200 years. At the cusp of the 20th century, Slang and its Analogues gave a succinct definition and partial history of the term.

    1. An opprobrious term for a woman, generally containing an implication of lewdness and ‘fastness.’ Not now in literary use, though formerly so. [From its primary sense of a female dog] It is the most offensive appellation that can be given to an English woman, even more provoking than that of whore.
    2. (old) Applied, opprobriously, as in sense 1, to a man. It has long since passed out of decent usage.

    The first serious rise in the usage of bitch begins at 1920 – exactly the same year as another feminist milestone in the United States: suffrage. The 19th amendment to the US constitution was ratified on August 18th, 1920. After decades of struggle, women finally received the right to vote. But as women became more public, so too did their critics. Now that women were appearing more and more on the American stage, the insult bitch began to slip slowly into popular discourse.

    Of the books published in 1915 that contain the word “bitch,” all are journals of dogs or veterinary medicine, law books explaining cases involving dogs, and the occasional court case in which the transcript includes some man calling another a “son of a bitch.”

    Within the books published in 1925, merely 10 years later but on the other side of the 19th amendment, there is fiction, magazine articles, and even some quotes from news sources that use bitch to insult a woman. Through the years this trend continues – in fact, by 1930 references to the word as an insult to a woman outnumber the references to a female dog.

    So what changed?

    The answer lies in the connotation of the insult itself. Of the publications from this period, the uses of bitch can be grouped into three categories of meaning:
    1.Malicious or consciously attempting to harm
    2.Difficult, annoying, or interfering
    3.Sexually brazen or overly vulgar

    These three traits combined form a perfect picture of the angry 1st wave feminist that many suffragist opponents feared, a kind of anti-lady. The dystopia predicted by those opponents, both men and women, is summed up well in remarks made by a Representative from Alabama in 1918:

    There will be no more domestic tranquility in this nation. No more “Home Sweet Home,” no more lullabies to the baby. Suffrage will destroy the best thing in our lives and leave in our hearts an aching void that the world can never fill.

    Angry, dangerous, and independent, these suffragists had stomped in and broken up the status quo, interfering in the lives of ordinary folk and harming the “domestic tranquility” that had been the pinnacle of American happiness. This was a new type of woman, one America hadn’t been forced to seriously consider before. There had to be a name for these women. They found one: these new feminists were a bunch of uppity, interfering bitches.

    III: The Reclamation
    The popularity of bitch dipped slightly around the late 30s and early 40s, possibly due to an increase of chivalry and respect towards the women who played an important part in the war effort (or just because everyone had better things to write about). After the war, use of the word popped back up and continued steadily until around 1965 when it experienced a sudden rise in use.

    Again we see a correlation with a significant change in the feminist movement. 1963 saw both the publication of The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, and the release of the final report of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. Both bemoaned the poor status of women in an apparently free and equal society, both brought forth the startling notion that women who lived the life of a perfect housewife might have many good reasons to not be happy. These ideas sparked the 2nd wave of feminism which, after the success of the 1st wave in removing many legal barriers to equality, moved on to addressing women’s issues in the home, the workplace, the family, and in their own reproductive rights.

    The 1960’s found women gaining a sense of pride in many of the things their opponents criticized them for: assertiveness, strength, independence, and a willingness to fight for their own definition of happiness. In 1968, Jo Freeman (Joreen) published The BITCH Manifesto, a document that defines the bitches of 2nd wave feminism.

    Our society has defined humanity as male, and female as something other than male. In this way, females could be human only by living vicariously thru a male. To be able to live, a woman has to agree to serve, honor, and obey a man and what she gets in exchange is at best a shadow life. Bitches refuse to serve, honor or obey anyone. They demand to be fully functioning human beings, not just shadows. They want to be both female and human.

    Suddenly, the ideal qualities of a feminist and the definition of a bitch matched up. Feminists began to self-identify as bitches, and use it in their writings. The insult became a rallying cry, a signal to women that these things that have hurt us can be changed for the better. All these things women used to be insulted for now became a goal.

    We must be strong, we must be militant, we must be dangerous. We must realize that Bitch is Beautiful and that we have nothing to lose. Nothing whatsoever. (close of the BITCH Manifesto)9

    IV: The Popularization
    By the time Feminism began its 3rd wave, reclaiming bitch was an official part of many feminist’s agenda. 1996 saw the first publication of Bitch Magazine, a periodical giving a “feminist response to pop culture.” One of the magazine’s founders, Andi Zeisler, explained in a 2006 interview that they chose the name explicitly because they wished to reclaim the word.

    When we chose the name, we were thinking, well, it would be great to reclaim the word “bitch” for strong, outspoken women, much the same way that “queer” has been reclaimed by the gay community. That was very much on our minds, the positive power of language reclamation.

    Due to the efforts of Zeisler and many others, bitch began appearing everywhere – on bookshelves, on clothing, on food labels, and in the words of popular media. Being a bitch wasn’t just for feminists anymore. Shirts with “You Messed with the Wrong Bitch!” on them started selling in children’s sizes. Buttons saying “The Birthday Bitch” appeared in novelty shops. In 1999 best selling author Elizabeth Wurtzel published Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women. In it, she lays out a view of bitch that was a bit different from Joreen’s BITCH Manifesto.

    I intend to scream, shout, race the engine, call when I feel like it, throw tantrums in Bloomingdale’s if I feel like it and confess intimate details about my life to complete strangers. I intend to do what I want to do and be whom I want to be and answer only to myself: that is, quite simply, the bitch philosophy.

    The idea of self-reliance and a freedom to chase their own desires remained, but now bitches weren’t outcasts. Bitches shopped at Bloomingdales, bitches socialized with other women, telling intimate details to strangers. Bitches had become public.

    It wasn’t just feminists that started popularizing the word. The 1990’s saw the rise of “Gangsta rap,” a style of hip hop that often contained profanity and descriptions of violence towards women. A 1991 album by “Bust Down” was titled Nasty Bitch, and featured an anthropomorphized dog stomping a woman’s head into the ground on the cover. Along with the continuing reclamation of the word came a backlash that increased the use of bitch as a violent insult.

    V: Modern Day

    Nowadays people can read a diet book titled Skinny Bitch, drink many varietals of Sassy Bitch Wine, make new friends at a “Stitch ‘n Bitch” knitting club, listen to Meredith Brooks sing “I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother” or dance to Ludacris’ stirring lyrics “Move bitch, get out the way, get out the way bitch, get out the way.”

    Bitch has come a far way from the “most offensive appellation” to women it was at the end of the 20th century. The 1st wave feminists of the 1920’s gave it an identity, the 2nd wave feminists grabbed it from the voices of their critics and reclaimed it as theirs, and the 3rd wave brought it forth, polished it up, and presented it to the world. From biche sone to bitch, please, the word has had a long and busy history, making it now one of the most common, and most complicated, swear words in America.

  71. Warren March 12, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Well I tell you I am glad that our school’s allow the Drama Club members to have a say in what they do. Otherwise it would be no different than a classroom.

    It is becoming more and more evident why the schools in the states are so FUBAR. You have been trained from a young age to just follow along, and do as your told, letting the school/state control everything.

    So disappointing that so many, even in here, are for censorship, and allowing the school’s to control even creativity. LOL I am wondering if the USSR actually won the Cold War.

  72. Donna March 12, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    I concur with E on the timing of the school play decisions. Our spring musical was in place before the first day of school as it was announced on the first day of class. So, at best, it would have been the previous years’ drama club who voted, not the ones actually performing.

  73. Warren March 12, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

    Yes Donna as pointed out by others in previous articles, the way it happened in your school is the only way things ever happened. You really should see someone about this God Complex of yours.

    I am sorry that the students you went to school with were that slow and challenged that you needed vast amounts of time to produce a play.

    We picked it in Sept. and did performances in April. Not hard if the students are talented enough and smart enough. Sorry your school couldn’t meet that standard.

    Glad to see you can google “bitch”.

  74. Natalie March 12, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    Google is a great tool.

    There’s some nice deconstructions of all sorts of sexist/homophobic/racist slurs and what the slurs say about those who choose to use them. Try googling your sexist slur of choice.

    You’d think that most would catch on by now. But, even so, despite everything, there are people that still think that calling someone a bitch somehow denigrates the person they are calling “bitch”, and doesn’t horribly backfire and reflect poorly on themselves.

  75. Warren March 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    Oh I see Natalie. You are one of those that feels when a person calls someone something it is more about the person using the slur. While that may be true in some cases, let me assure you this is not the case.

    Like my grandpappy once said, if she looks like one, talks like one and acts like one, don’t let her fool you, she is one.

  76. Christy March 12, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    It’s Carrie, for pity’s sake. It’s a HIGH SCHOOL STORY. It’s about a girl who is emotionally abused at home and a total outcast at school. Overlooked, bullied, neglected, it’s a highly relevant tale.

  77. hineata March 12, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    @Natalie – enjoyed that discourse 🙂 . Very interesting. Shame I only work with primary school kids, I wouldn’t mind having a discussion with them on the etymology of some of that type of word, and the psychology behind some people’s deep seated need to resort to them. Personally I always thought it pointed to a limited vocabulary….

  78. lollipoplover March 12, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    @Natalie and hineata-
    I also enjoyed the discourse. I am all for differing opinion but usually ignore those who resort to slurs to make a point. And frankly I’m surprised there’s not a “go suck it” yet on this thread. That usually happens about now…

  79. Natalie March 12, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

    Why yes, Warren. That’s exactly how communication works. You get to choose how to express yourself, and I get to determine what kind of person you are based on the way you communicate. It’s not rocket science. Since you’re not subtle, it doesn’t take effort.

    You might not literally be saying, “I’m very angry because I feel emasculated by Donna.” But that’s how you sound.

    I mean, that’s usually how I translate your anger and insults, no matter who they’re directed at. But the sexist slur just makes your inability to deal with women smarter/more capable than you that much more obvious.

  80. Natalie March 12, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

    @lollipoplover and hineata,

    I also thought it was interesting.
    Bitch is recent. Whore is timeless. Who’d have guessed?

    Anyway, you’d think someone would have referenced the Nazi’s by now with the way this thread is going. Oh wait…

  81. SOA March 12, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    Ben: That is a good point about “Rent” and drug use. It is portrayed honestly and shows the bad effects of it so maybe a high school would be okay with it. There is then the cat house strip club dancing scene and song though…..

    I know they probably can leave out songs or change things but I have always felt do something in its pure form or pick something else. I don’t like when they leave stuff out or edit things.

  82. Warren March 12, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    Actually what I find flattering Natalie is the interest and time dedicated to me, instead of the topic.

    Thank you for proving something I have always suspected.

  83. Natalie March 13, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    Yes Warren, I am well aware of how fragile your ego is. No need to be redundant.

    Rather than ignoring sexist (or racist/homophobic) slurs, it’s better to point them out and explain why they are wrong.

  84. Natalie March 13, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    Rather than ignoring sexist (or racist/homophobic) slurs, it’s better to point them out and explain why they are wrong.

  85. Donna March 13, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Natalie – Warren is completely irrelevant to me and can call me anything he wishes. It just reflects poorly on him, not me or anyone else. He can hash out his emotional and inferiority complex issues on me if that is what gets him through his day. Since I stopped believing a word he says a long time ago, he simply entertains me now.

  86. E March 13, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    @Warren, it’s great that your HS did things that you liked. In my HS (in the 80s) we did things that worked too. Like when the Theater Teacher wanted to do Oklahoma but there was a traveling production at the same time so she couldn’t get the rights to produce it. It taught the students about how that part of the creative process worked.

    My HS teacher actually got the school to allow for a 2 class “block” for 1 semester so that everyone involved with the large musical production could do it mostly as part of their school day allowing students participating in other extra-curriculars to get involved. It was a great collaborative experience because our theater teacher was so well loved and respected that she was able to get Football players to be kids in The Music Man or Nazis in the Sounds of Music.

    I would never ever question her talent and devotion to the students. When she died, more than 20 years after we graduated, notes we’d written to her during her illness were read at her funeral. She came to all of our HS reunions.

    I would venture to guess that many many of my HS classmates (those immersed in theater and those that just took a class from her) would likely list her among the teachers that made an impact on their life.

    Your broad brush couldn’t be more wrong.

    Teams don’t vote on the offense they are going to run, the defensive scheme they will use, etc. The coaches/teachers actually have experience and strategies that they believe will benefit the students.

    I’m sure the teacher that selected (or agreed-to if the kids were involved) “Carrie” didn’t do so without thinking thru all of the pros/cons of the experience.

  87. Warren March 13, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    Well E, I am glad you had a good experience in high school.

    As for voting on gameplay………….boring dictatorship.

    Played football and we did have input into our gameplay. Yes the coaches managed it, but they did seek our input during games, and workouts. Even as a coach later on, I had my players give input. Things look completely different from the sidelines, than in the thick of it.

    @Natalie and Donna,
    Wow, you two are devoting so much time and effort to me. Thank you I am flattered.

  88. E March 13, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    @Warren, giving input and making decisions are two different things. A teacher or coach or anyone in charge of kids is going to have final say on how things ultimately go. It could be budget, talent, time, appropriateness, safety, or probably a number of other things.

    In the example I used, my theater teacher spent a lot of time constructing the 2 hour block for the purposes of putting on a big production in a certain way. There’s no way she could have had administration approve it without an actual plan (and specific musical production) that would support such an arrangement. It’s not like she could have let the kids pick later, and ended up with a much smaller production that only benefited a handful of kids.

    Something DO take planning.

    But back to the subject, the article is actually lovely. The theater sponsor and principle respond in a thoughtful mature manner. So yeah, a few parents want to complain, but the show goes on with the school and system support. Good news.

    There was a similar situation on our neighborhood listserv where a parent was trying to rally support against the 2 productions the HS had selected. It backfired on her as many people were critical in her response and a neighbor whose child attended a different HS and had put on the production previously talked about how wonderful she thought the message was despite it being called “Urinetown”. If anything, it INCREASED interest in the play, lol. It’s nice to see reasonable prevail!

  89. E March 13, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Ack, so many typos. Sorry about that!

  90. Warren March 13, 2014 at 6:16 pm #

    Well E, it is fine for you to let that teacher do all the work.

    Our Director/Teacher was there to help us, guide us, and back us up. The Drama Club members did all the work. I guess we were not as helpless as your members.

    Doing sales calls for sponorship and program advertising was my thing. Others worked on budgets, others worked on altering the play to fit our venue and so on. We did the work.

    Either you teacher was a control freak, or you guys were lazy, or you guys were just morons that couldn’t do the job.

    Like I said our Director was there to help, but we did all the work.

  91. Natalie March 14, 2014 at 6:05 am #

    That’s just gross.

  92. E March 14, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    @Warren, well I tried to conduct a civil discussion lol.

    Where in my post did I say that the drama teacher did ANY of the things you just listed? I said she had to select and get the admin to approve and support the musical with a block schedule. I said it was a HUGE collaborative effort that involved as many students as possible (art, band, “shop”, etc.) We did fundraisers, we made our own costumes, student choreographers and wardrobe coordinators, and on and on and on, just like most HS theater works. The production was not limited to kids in the Thespians club.

    Anyway — you are making ridiculous broad brush remarks about a situation you know nothing about.

    The theater sponsors/teachers I know make (or approve) selections of the play/musical because there is something of value that would come of it for the students involved. Who knows, maybe one year they select a mainstream musical to help draw as many people to it to raise funds. Maybe they select/approve a more controversial play/musical because they feel it’s thought provoking. Maybe they select it because the theater students are talented enough to pull off a more difficult production (I’m amazed at the local HS that produced Amadeus, it was fantastic).

    As I mentioned, my drama teacher was a wonderful person. I’d list her at the top of my list as being an influential teacher. In fact, she would be the most free range teacher I probably had. She gave us the scripts and she directed the production, but we had to figure everything else out.

    I have no idea why you think this is so awful.

    Warren, I think sometimes you feel like if anything is ever different than what you chose to do or what your life experience is, then it’s wrong or bad. That’s not how things work for any of us.

    If my teacher (or the one in this article) selected the Musical, then they selected the musical. It doesn’t mean they are bad, that the students are lazy, that anyone is a moron.

  93. Warren March 14, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    Well E, you should look in the mirror. You were just as confrontational.

    You were going on as if, we couldn’t get it done our way.

    As for coaching, a coach that does not listen to his or her players does not last long, and does not win much.

  94. E March 14, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    @Warren, you are seeing something that wasn’t there. My first post doesn’t mention you at all, but rather how, in my experience (as a theater student and parent) selections were made. The point was that a theater teacher/sponsor would be mindful no matter how they selection was determined BEFORE announcing/producing it. They would evaluate the value pros/cons of producing it.

    As far as what I wrote to you specifically?

    It was this:
    @Warren, it’s great that your HS did things that you liked. In my HS (in the 80s) we did things that worked too.

    How you twist that into me suggesting you couldn’t get it done, I have no idea.

  95. Warren March 14, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

    @E, thank you for clarifying it. My apologies.

    I just do not understand people being hung up on the content, the message, and the value of the content. Our director told us that the material itself was fairly irrelevant. It was effort, the learning, and the producing of the play that was important. Because no matter what the content, each guest will take away their own message.

  96. Warren March 14, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Our director was also one of our english teachers.

    First day of class, first words out of his mouth.

    “I am not here to deprive you of the right to fail my course.”

  97. E March 17, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    @Warren — yup, we don’t really know why or what a selection is based on. Like I said. My teacher was very mainstream (maybe most HS productions were in the 80s) so perhaps it was what could get the most ticket sales, using a particular talented actress/singer (what would be the point of putting on The Sound of Music if you didn’t have someone who could pull off Maria and Capt Von Trapp?).

    As I mentioned, the teacher at my kid’s HS has picked SO far off the map, that there’s no doubt he’s doing it because of whatever he values from the production itself (and he typically introduces the production to the audience to “explain” it, lol).