Green Day front man calls out Enfield school board for canceled - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Green Day front man calls out Enfield school board for canceled production

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(Wikicommons photo) (Wikicommons photo)

A group of high school students whose musical performance was deemed inappropriate by some parents is getting the support of thousands of people on social media.

Green Day's lead singer even weighed in on a controversy that's been brewing at Enfield High School.

Billie Joe Armstrong took to Instagram to call out the school board for canceling a production of American Idiot.

"I realize the content of the Broadway production of AI is not quite "suitable" for a younger audience," Armstrong wrote. "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."

He called it a shame if the students were shut down over some challenging content.

"But the bigger issue is censorship," he wrote. "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."

Armstrong ended by saying he hoped the board reconsidered its decision.

"P.S. I love that your school is called 'Raiders,'" he said.

The drama club at the school had been planning to perform the show, which is version of Armstrong's Broadway production and is based off Green Day's hit album of the same name. It was slated to open this spring.

However, some parents disapproved.

"The students take it seriously and they found this topic to be appropriate," said Nora Rousseau, an Enfield parents. "I think they should trust their instincts."

Recently, school leaders pulled the idea after they heard complaints that called it inappropriate.

The story is about a young group trying to find their way in a post-Sept. 11 world. It involves sex and harsh language.

"They just felt that this particular play didn't allow for that so they decided to go with a play that would," said Dr. Jeffrey Schumann, superintendent.

The decision to change the play sparked thousands of angry posts over the internet, including the one from Armstrong.

Students ultimately selected Little Shop of Horrors to replace American Idiot.

Enfield Mayor Scott Kaupin released a statement on Tuesday to clarify what happened.

" seemed that [Lamplighters director Nate] Ferreira had followed the appropriate steps, and now by his own admission, that is clearly not the case; he did not have approval to make any changes, he had not undertaken a successful project that would influence future productions. While I think there may still be opportunities for Enfield students to benefit from performing in American Idiot, they cannot do so in any version not fully approved by the authors and their representatives.

I don’t support a small number of parents ending the opportunity for the majority of the Lamplighters, but I also don’t support Ferreira’s effort to aggrandize his own sanitized version of the text. This has been a lose-lose proposition at Enfield High: the show has been shut down without being properly defended, and there has been an effort to misrepresent to the community that Ferreira’s text was authorized and even praised, obscuring the authors’ rights and copyright protections.  Unfortunately, the students lose as well."

Schumann said the club adviser and principal made the call.

"I'm looking forward to the production," Schumann said. "What they produce is totally up to them."

Little Shop of Horrors features a giant man-eating plant that kills as part of the story.

"I don't know the content of what they are going to do," Schumann said. "I don't know if this is the version you're speaking about or if this is a made-for-high-school version. So I'm assuming that the folks have looked at all the scripts and decided that this was appropriate."

The school district said there is no set date for the spring performance, but it is expected to take place in May.

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