Supporters pack Timberlane meeting on ‘Sweeney Todd’
School officials considering cancelling next spring’s production at high school due to contentPublished 12:53 AM EDT Apr 03, 2014
WORD SPREAD THIS PLAY MAY BE CANCELED, THERE WAS A MEETING TONIGHT TO HASH OUT A PLAN. NICK SPINETTO WAS THERE AND IS LIVE IN THE STUDIO NOW WITH MORE. I CAN TELL YOU THERE WERE PLENTY OF PEOPLE IN ATTENDANCE TONIGHT WITH A BIG AX TO GRIND, THEY ARE HEATED THAT THE SUPERINTENDENT WOULD EVEN CONSIDER CANCELING NEXT SPRING'S PRODUCTION OF SWEENEY TODD. THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OFFENDING SOMEONE AND HURTING THEM. THIS CAN'T HURT ANYBODY. AND IF THEY'RE OFFENDED, JUST DON'T ATTEND. PEOPLE LIKE DENISE SMITH SHOWED UP IN DROVES WEDNESDAY NIGHT TO SUPPORT STUDENTS WHO WANT TO PERFORM THE MUSICAL, SWEENEY TODD. THE FACT IS THERE ARE PEOPLE EVERYWHERE WHO CARE ABOUT EACH AND EVERY STUDENT HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXCEL IN THE ARTS. HOWARD SHERMAN IS AN ARTS WRITER FROM NEW YORK CITY WHO CAME TO SUPPORT THE STUDENTS. EVEN THOUGH SWEENEY TODD IS ABOUT A BARBER WHO KILLS HIS VICTIMS AND HIS LANDLORD THEN COOKS THE VICTIMS INTO PIES, SHERYL AN SAYS IT OFFERS STUDENTS A CHANCE TO REALLY LEARN. I THINK THERE SHOULD BE AS MUCH OPPORTUNITY FOR STUDENTS TO TAKE ON CHALLENGING WORK. THE SUPERINTENDENT SAYS IT'S NOT FAMILY FRIENDLY, AND HE HAS TO THINK ABOUT THE COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE. MY ISSUE REALLY IS ONE OF A COMMUNITY'S PERSPECTIVE. I HAVE TO LOOK AT THINGS THROUGH MANY LENSES. BUT HE ISN'T COMPLETELY OPPOSED TO THE PLAY. HE SAYS MEETINGS LIKE THIS ARE GREAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR DIALOGUE AND COMPROMISE. AS WE WORK TOGETHER, PERHAPS WE CAN MEET THE NEEDS OF EVERYONE. THE MEETING LASTED FOR THREE HOURS, AS MOSTLY EVERYONE HERE SPOKE IN FAVOR OF THE PLAY. WE AS A STUDENT BODY -- JARED, A JUNIOR, GOT SOME OF THE LOUDEST APPLAUSE. NEXT YEAR'S PERFORMANCE WOULD BE HIS FINAL CURTAIN CALL. HAVING IT BE SWEENEY TODD IS HIS DREAM. I WENT UP THERE WITH A PIECE OF PAPER HOPING I WOULD READ IT WORD FOR WORD, BUT I REALLY DIDN'T WANT TO, BECAUSE I FELT LIKE WHAT I TRULY WANTED TO SAY WAS IN MY HEART. WE'RE TOLD THE DECISION WON'T BE MADE UNTIL FRIDAY OR SOMETIME NEXT WEEK. BY THE WAY, THE VERSE THAT THE STUDENT WANTS TO PERFORM IS A TONED DOWN P.G. VERSION OF THE
Hundreds of people gathered for a meeting Wednesday night about next spring’s production of “Sweeney Todd” at Timberlane Regional High School.
Superintendent Earl Metzler and a few others said the tone of the musical is too dark for high school students. Others voiced their displeasure that Metzler would even consider cancelling the musical.
“There’s a difference between offending someone and hurting someone,” said Denise Smith, a parent. “This can’t hurt anyone and if you’re offended, don’t come.”
People showed up in droves to support students performing “Sweeney Todd.”
“The fact is there are people everywhere who want the students to have the opportunity to excel in the arts,” said Howard Sherman, an arts writer from New York City who came to support the students.
The musical is about a barber who kills his victims and his landlord who cooks the victims to make pies. Sherman said it offers students a chance to really learn.
“I think there should be as much opportunity for students to take on challenging work,” Sherman said.
Metzler said the musical is not family friendly and he has the whole community to think about.
“One of my issues is one of a community perspective,” Metzler said. “See, I have to look at things through many lenses.”
Metzler said he isn’t completely opposed to the musical. He said the meeting was a great opportunity for dialogue and compromise.
“As we work together, we can meet the needs of everyone,” Metzler said.
The meeting lasted for three hours. Most of the people spoke in favor of the musical.
“We, as a student body, yearn for challenges just like this one,” said Jaryd Nimmo, a student.
The junior got some of the loudest applause during the meeting. Next year’s performance would be Nimmo’s final curtain call. Having it be “Sweeney Todd” is a dream, he said.
“I went up there with a piece of paper hoping to read it word for word, but then I didn’t want to because what I truly wanted to say was in my heart,” Nimmo said.
A decision won’t be made until Friday or sometime next week, school officials said.
The version of “Sweeney Todd” the students would perform is a toned-down PG version of the musical.