Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong Responds to High School Canceling Production of ‘American Idiot’
Green Day's American Idiot album has gone on to be transformed into a successful musical. Fans of the legendary pop punk band hold American Idiot extremely dear, as do performers who act in performances of the musical across the country. One high school production of American Idiot, however, has been shut down, leading to frontman Billie Joe Armstrong sending an open letter asking for students' freedom to perform.
The American Idiot musical does contain swearing and adult situations that could be considered controversial for a high school production, but Enfield High School in Enfield, Conn. actually went through script modifications to make the musical more suitable for a family environment, working to create an official "School Edition" of American Idiot to be used nationwide. Despite the effort, "a very small number of extremely vocal people have complained," according to Nate Ferreira, faculty director of the school's Lamplighters theater program. This led to a decision to pull American Idiot from its stage for the time being.
Billie Joe Armstrong took to his Instagram account yesterday (Jan. 26) to rally for Enfield High students:
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"
The school has been faced with local pressure to let students perform American Idiot, and though Nate Ferreira feels sympathetic towards his students, he stands by the decision to pull American Idiot. "I stand by my decision to change our choice of production, and I have always felt that the school administration has been supportive of our efforts," Ferreria tells Hesherman.com. "That being said, I am elated that people like yourself are fighting for the freedom of thought and expression that is so vital to the arts. Your coverage of our situation has helped to shed light on the issue, and to spark serious discussion in our community. Mr. Armstrong’s support has likewise invigorated our students. Although we will not be performing American Idiot for our end of year production, you can be sure that the Lamplighters will continue to push boundaries and explore serious issues."
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