Herriman High theater students were told Wednesday their play, "All Shook Up," was too racy and did not conform to a new district policy. District officials canceled it.
The Jordan School Board changed its policy on drama productions in August after criticism over Bingham High performing “Dead Man Walking.” In its revised policy, parents have to sign consent forms before their students may participate in plays. Also, more parents will serve on the school and district committees that select which plays to produce.
For months, students have been preparing a production of the Broadway musical from 2005 that contains Elvis Presley songs from the 1950s, and is loosely based on William Shakespeare’s "Twelfth Night" from 1602.
"We started in September, it was not a secret, everyone knew about it," said Kat Fishback, a Herriman High sophomore who worked on the production.
Students were informed Wednesday that their musical, which had been approved a year ago, did not conform to a new policy.
The Jordan School Board revised its policy on drama productions in August, shortly after the conservative Utah Eagle Forum condemned students performing "Dead Man Walking" at Bingham High. The group said in a statement the play was filled with profanity, sexual language, racial slurs, political bias and "inappropriate use of biblical teachings."
On Wednesday, Sandy Riesgraf, Jordan district spokeswoman, said one "community member" complained about "All Shook Up." This person filed a complaint just before the school’s winter break, Riesgraf said, so that’s when school administrators reviewed the musical. When the students returned from break on Wednesday, administrators announced the musical was canceled.
"[Administrators] read the play, and there were some aspects of play that could be offensive to some under our new revised policy," Riesgraf said. "We want our drama to be a great experience not just for our students but the theater-goers. We don’t want to offend anyone."
About 700 people attend the high school productions.
Riesgraf said the musical could not be changed to be less offensive because of copyright laws, so it had to be canceled.