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Herriman High play canceled after parent's complaint over song

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2 2013 5:35 p.m. MST

HERRIMAN — Jordan School District officials on Wednesday decided to cancel Herriman High School's production of "All Shook Up" after a complaint from a parent prompted a review of the play's content.

The play was scheduled to be performed at the end of February and students had begun rehearsals, district spokeswoman Sandy Riesgraf said. The school will now select a replacement production that likely will be performed in March.

"We don't want to offend anyone," Riesgraf said. "We want students and parents to have a good experience."

Riesgraf said that just before the Christmas holiday break, a parent approached the district with concerns about a sexually suggestive song in the play, which is a modern retelling of William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" set to the music of Elvis Presley.

During the holiday break, district administrators reviewed the play's script and determined it did not meet the standards of a new district policy that was put in place in August after Bingham High School's production of "Dead Man Walking" came under fire by the Utah Eagle Forum, a conservative lobbying group.

The play could also not be edited, Riesgraf said, because of copyright restrictions, prompting officials to "err on the side of caution" and not allow the play to be performed.

"Under the new policy the play would not have met the grade," she said. "It was in the best interest of everyone to just take a step back."

Riesgraf also said the decision to cancel the production was based on specific instances in the script that were deemed potentially offensive and not as an overriding judgment of the play.

E-mail: benwood@desnews.com

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