Update: Emails Revealed from South Williamsport High School's Cancelled SPAMALOT Pointing to 'Homosexual Themes'
As BroadwayWorld reported earlier this Summer. South Williamsport, a high school in Lycoming County, PA, had been forced to cancel their spring production of Monty Python's Spamalot due to "controversial content," which includes a homosexual marriage. According to WNEP, the school administrators thought that the musical's subject matter was too inappropriate for students.
Since then, emails have been revealed uncovering the nature of the conversation between school Principal Jesse Smith and Superintendent Dr. Mark Stamm, according to a blog by industry professional Howard Sherman. After seeking access to their correspondence through Pennsylvania's 'Right to Know Law,' Sherman just now received further information regarding the decision to cancel the show.
An email from Smith to Burch from June reads:
"Finally, you told me late in the school year that you were looking to perform Spamalot for your spring 2015 musical. I have some concerns such as a guy sending another guy a message on girl's underwear and a gay wedding to be performed. If you are still planning to perform this then we will need to talk."
A later email from Smith to Burch reads:
"I am not comfortable with Spamalot and its homosexual themes for two main reasons:
1. Drama productions are supposed to be community events. They are supposed to be performances that families can attend. To me, this kind of material makes it very hard for this to take place. I don't want families to be afraid of bringing small kids because of the content. I don't want members of the community staying home because they feel the material is too risqué or controversial.
2. I think that choosing productions with this type of material or productions that may be deemed controversial put students in a tough spot. I don't want students to have to choose between their own personal beliefs and whether or not to take part in a production."