Green Day surprised their fanbase—and the entire theatrical world—in 2010 with a Broadway production of the band’s massively successful seventh album American Idiot. A high school in Connecticut was slated to perform the musical in early May but has recently decided against it. As a result, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong called out Enfield High School on his Instagram. Here's the post:
dear Enfield high school board, #enfieldhighschoolmusical #highschoolidiot #enfieldidiot It has come to my attention that you cancelled your high school theater production of American Idiot. I realize the content of the Broadway production of AI is not quite “suitable” for a younger audience. However there is a high school rendition of the production and I believe that's the one Enfield was planning to perform which is suitable for most people. it would be a shame if these high schoolers were shut down over some of the content that may be challenging for some of the audience. but the bigger issue is censorship. this production tackles issues in a post 9/11 world and I believe the kids should be heard. and most of all be creative in telling a story about our history. I hope you reconsider and allow them to create an amazing night of theater! as they say on Broadway .. “the show must go on!” rage and love Billie Joe Armstrong ps. I love that your school is called “Raiders”
Enfield’s drama club, the Lamplighters, began advertising auditions for the American Idiot production. However, not long after, their faculty director sent out a general announcement to the school, which stated that the troupe will not put on the musical due to “a small number of extremely vocal people.”
“Due to the mature content of the original production, I have been working with the publisher to modify the script, to ensure that it would be appropriate for a high school group to perform,” says director Nate Ferreira in the statement. “This project was very successful, and we feel that the modified script and production notes maintain the integrity of the show, while removing profanity and the more adult scenarios in the original Broadway production. The publisher is even starting the process of turning our edited version of the script into their official ‘School Edition’ of the play, to allow other high schools to easily perform this play in the future.”
Sounds awesome, right? Well, here’s where things go awry. “Unfortunately, a very small number of extremely vocal people have complained about our choice of production. This led to Mr. Longey [principal Andrew Longey] and I meeting on Friday to discuss a change in our choice of production. To be clear, Mr. Longey did not force us to change – he and I took a long and careful look at all aspects of the show, and all arguments on either side,” continues Ferreira. “At this late stage it is very difficult to switch to a different play, but I do feel that it is best for us to set aside American Idiot for the time being.”
This was said after the faculty director praised his theater troupe for “exploring serious issues in a mature and responsible way” with previous productions.
Read more: Green Day recording new music?
NBC Connecticut spoke to the school district’s superintendent, Jeffrey Schumann, who stated that the American Idiot production was “dividing our kids.”
“This is not a censorship issue,” says Schumman in direct response to Armstrong’s message, which claimed “the bigger issue is censorship.” “This is a participation issue. We chose to change our production so we can get maximum participation.”
The drama club will now reportedly perform Little Shop Of Horrors instead.
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