At a small-town high school in Pennsylvania, administrators have nixed a plan to perform “Monty Python’s Spamalot” next spring.
Officials at South Williamsport Junior/Senior High School have deemed the hit musical comedy adapted from the 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” too racy for students, reports Scranton, Pa. ABC affiliate WNEP.
Homosexual themes are the culprit, according to the school’s drama director, Dawn Burch.
Spoiler alert! Part of the musical involves Sir Lancelot’s outing as a gay man (the scene involves a disco tune). Later, Lancelot marries Prince Herbert.
Spamalot also features flying cows, killer rabbits and show girls.
Burch claimed she received an email from the high school principal explaining that homosexuality is something that doesn’t happen in the conservative area served by the school. (The principal, Jesse Smith according to the school’s webpage, did not corroborate that his email said this.)
School district superintendent Mark Stamm said the decision was made in effort to avoid controversy.
“We want our performances to be appropriate for the student performers and audiences so that anyone participating or watching can enjoy all aspects of the show,” Stamm told WNEP.
Opinion among locals is split.
Supporters of the decision say they’d just as soon avoid divisive social issues when it comes to taxpayer-funded school plays.
“As a parent it wouldn’t be my top choice of a play,” Manny Tskitas, the father of a seventh grader, told the ABC station. “I think in today’s day an age, kids get exposed to things very quickly and a lot sooner than my generation and the generation before. So for the school to take a stand like that I’m perfectly okay with that.”
Other parents don’t see the big deal.
“It doesn’t bother me,” parent Jodi Cogley told the station.
Students noted that that homosexuality does, indeed, exist locally — even in the halls of South Williamsport Junior/Senior High.
“I’d just seen one of my friends walk with her girlfriend the other day,” student Gianna Goegard told WNEP. “It’s definitely in my school and all around.”
As for the theatrical production that will replace Monty Python’s Spamalot, no decision has been made.
Local kerfuffles over high school musicals are a hardy American perennial. Last school year, for example, a high school drama teacher in suburban Cincinnati was forced out of a job after choosing to stage “Legally Blonde,” the Broadway musical — approved for general audiences — based on the hit movie starring Reese Witherspoon. (RELATED: High School Drama Teacher Loses Job After ‘Legally Blonde’ Musical Deemed Too Racy)