The singer of the punk rock band Green Day spoke out Monday after learning that Enfield High School in Connecticut decided not to perform the musical "American Idiot," the group's rock opera.
"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," Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong said on Instagram. "But the bigger issue is censorship."
The superintendent, Jeffrey Schumann, of Enfield schools told NBC Connecticut that the rock opera was "dividing our kids." he sat down to the drama club director to discuss the production.
"This is not a censorship issue," Schumman told Catalina Trivino with NBC Connecticut. "This is a participation issue. We chose to change our production so we can get maximum participation."
The Enfield High School's drama club, the Lamplighters, had previously advertised the showing of "American Idiot" and encouraged students to audition, according to a letter sent to members of the school community.
But the school theater's drama club director, Nate Ferreira, and the prinicipal decided it was best to cancel the show after complaints from parents, said the letter, posted by arts administrator Howard Sherman.
"Unfortunately, a very small number of extremely vocal people have complained about our choice of production," Ferreria wrote. "To be clear, Mr. Longey (the school's principal) did not force us to change...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."
Ferreira said the play had a lot of explicit language and scenes involving drugs and sex. The director also said he had been working with the musical's publisher to ensure a more appropriate version of the rock opera.
"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," Ferreira wrote in a letter on Jan. 17.
The school will preform "Little Shop of Horrors" which is a sci-fi musical about a venus flytrap that feeds off human blood.
Armstrong maintained in his post that there was a version of the musical appropriate for a high school audience. He asked the school to rethink its decision.
"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," Armstrong said.
Armstrong's full post can be found here.
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"