Herriman High School in Utah was the scene of a controversy straight out of the 1950s with the district’s announcement that a school play featuring the music of Elvis Presley would be canceled for being too sexually suggestive. Then, as the news got out, school administrators announced Thursday they had changed their mind, and “All Shook Up” would go on as scheduled.
“The show will go on,” said Sandy Riesgraf, a spokeswoman for the district. “Our biggest concern early on, we wanted to make some changes to keep the play within community values. It’s a win-win for us.”
Students had been planning and rehearsing their version of the 2005 Broadway musical for months when they found out that unnamed residents had managed to halt the production. Conservative members of the community felt the play didn’t conform to the new district entertainment policy put in place last year after an uproar following “Dead Man Walking,” which is based on the story of a chaplain’s experiences working on Louisiana's death row.
A district spokesperson said the production of “All Shook Up,” loosely based on William Shakespeare’s mistaken-identity play “Twelfth Night,” was nixed after one unnamed community member claimed offense.
“All Shook Up” was a hit single for Elvis in 1957, in part because of lyrics that describe “Lips are like a volcano that’s hot.” The most scandalous part of the play was rumored to be a cross-dressing scene, according to what some parents told the Salt Lake Tribune.
“I’m at a loss,” said Jill Fishback, whose daughter is involved with the play. “They’re singing Elvis songs. A girl dresses up as a boy and kisses a boy…It’s not promoting homosexuality. It was supposed to be a farce.”