Via Salt Lake City's busy theatrical grapevine, I've heard that some people who bought season tickets to the Theater League of Utah's two-production 1990-91 season of "A Chorus Line" and "Les Miserables" let go of their tickets to the former on the basis that they feel the play is "immoral."
Now, personally, there are a lot of things in this world that I, too, consider immoral - war, child abuse, indiscriminate use of our natural resources, some politicians, censorship and squandering funds on Pentagon overruns when the $300 spent for a 5-cent screw could feed a homeless family for a month.Last season's touring debacle, the Regal Productions' version of "Phantom of the Opera," struck me as being immoral in the way it brazenly bilked money from Capitol Theatre patrons under false pretenses.
But "A Chorus Line," which copped a Pulitzer Prize and earned dozens of other awards, is not "immoral."
OK, the dialogue contains quite a bit of profanity, and some of the characters portrayed in the audition might have lifestyles that folks in some circles find unacceptable - but this show is about streetwise kids in the dog-eat-dog world of New York theater. They swear, they have their breasts enlarged, some of them are gay.
That's life in the real world.
But, in "A Chorus Line," none of this is gratuitous.
These are real, flesh-and-blood young people (well - Cassie and Sheila aren't so young, but neither is quite over-the-hill). The dancers are all anxious to find work in an industry where the unemployment line is longer than the chorus line.
Scrambling to find a job is not "immoral."
Even using a few cuss words is not precisely "immoral." I've heard junior high school kids on UTA buses using language that would make a drill sergeant blush - youngsters from neighborhoods just like yours.
There are bawdy elements in many of Shakespeare's works (Elizabethan audiences demanded them) or such great shows as "Les Miserables." I don't recall ever hearing anyone complain about all the concubines in "The King and I," but that certainly goes against the grain of most of today's lifestyles.
Not every show can be squeaky-clean like "The Sound of Music" or "Annie," but it strikes me as ironic that such companies as Cathy Rigby's "Peter Pan" and Debbie Reynolds' "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" - both first-rate shows - barely broke even in Salt Lake City, while all eight performances of "A Chorus Line" have been sold out for weeks.
Just because Val had silicone implants or Paul is homosexual doesn't mean that "A Chorus Line" is promoting immorality.
It's a powerful, dramatic work with great music. It has a strong message of surviving rejection, of compassion for others, of how we deal with our dreams, goals and relationships.
But it's not "immoral."