Oh, how I detest censorship.
Especially when it’s stupidly used.
This was in the SUN-TIMES ->
Wilmette cancels ‘Ragtime’ due to language
“Wilmette Park District Executive Director Tom Grisamore said he made the decision to pull the show 12 days after learning the details of dialogue and lyrics that include use of the “n-word.” The show was set to open July 10 for three weekends in the Starlight Theater free outdoor concert series. “We had grave concerns that people would take the language they heard over the amplified sound system out of context from a performance that was being held in the bowl,” Grisamore said……..Musicals usually booked for the outdoor venue, Grisamore said, are mostly upbeat and lighthearted, such as “Hello Dolly,” “Showboat” and “State Fair.”
Okay, FIRST of all – to cancel a musical ABOUT racism because it uses racist language is ridiculous.
Those in charge of licensing this show should be removed from their positions. Had they listened to the score at all they probably would have seen/heard this coming. AND they would have seen that those people in the show who drop said N-word are CLEARLY the bad guys, and the show is about the undying power of the human spirit and how everyone regardless of race is the same. At the turn of the century, and even now, there was racism. Hello. Welcome to the world.
The show’s director, Ty Perry, weighed in.
“….The show’s director, Equity actor Ty Perry, could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but in a Pioneer Press interview prior to the show’s cancellation, explained why he intended to include the original language in the show, including the n-word. “You take that word out of this story and you invalidate my history as an African-American male,” said Perry. “Do I like the word? No. But to pretend nobody said it is wrong. I wouldn’t even consider doing that,” Perry said. “Context is everything, and it’s not gratuitous, it’s not for shock value. How can we learn about our present if we don’t educate people about what happened in our past?”
Second – and this is SUCH a musical theatre snob pet peeve… To call Showboat “upbeat and lighthearted” is ridiculous.
Taking a direct quote from “Ol’ Man River” – the MOST FAMOUS SONG IN THE SHOW – “Colored Folks work on the Mississippi…Colored folks work while the white folks play.”
Really, Wilmette? Really? Showboat was okay but Ragtime wasn’t? Huh.