Joe Iconis speaks out on the high school production of BE MORE CHILL which was canceled for “adult content”

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According to a Modesto Bee article, Turlock High School was set to perform Joe Iconis’ hit musical, Be More Chill, from this Thursday, April 7 through today, Sunday, April 10. Outcry from the site administration caused the school district to cancel the production after the opening night performance.

The high school’s altered production of the show was announced with a disclaimer stating that it contained adult themes. There were signs that parental supervision was recommended. However, Turlock Unified School District spokesperson Marie Russell released a statement on Friday, April 8, canceling all performances of the show out of “concern that the content is too mature for a general audience that includes all age levels”.

Turlock High School’s Instagram account posted an announcement on its page, stating, “We share our disappointment at the cancellation of our Spring Musical and recognize the time and effort the students and staff have put into the production. We We will be reviewing the protocols for approval of all TUSD performances in the future. You can receive a refund at the THS Activities Desk by bringing your purchased tickets. Our hours of operation are 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. If you have any questions, please call the office (209) 667-0797.” Comments for the post have been disabled.

The spokeswoman said that the administration and the site manager did not communicate effectively regarding the approval of the spring musical. The Modesto Bee said, “A message posted Friday on the Turlock High website indicates that the district will be reviewing protocols for approval of all performances going forward.”

Today news of the show’s cancellation caught the attention of series creator Joe Iconis. In a tweet responding to the article, he wrote, “This is absolutely horrifying. Investigating on my end…”

In another tweet, Iconis continued, “So this was an official licensed BMC (Be More Chill) production. I can’t understand how @turlockshs and @tUSdSupDana could let students rehearse for months. and allow them to do an ACTUAL PERFORMANCE before pulling the plug because of the content? Can someone please explain?

Minutes ago, the Broadway creator tweeted again, this time in response to administrator and arts advocate Howard Sherman, who said the Turlock High School administration mistakenly believed they were protecting students. Iconis continued, “I totally agree. However, in this case, the most disturbing thing is that the production was allowed to go this far. It’s not hard to feel like they had done a performance and the parents complained, then the show was cancelled.”

He continued: “But I really hope I’m wrong about that, because what a rude and cowardly gesture on the part of the EC administration would be.” So far, there has been no further statement from Turlock High School administration.

Photo credits: Walter McBride



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