Radnor Township School District officials canceled the traditional senior-class musical this week after one performance because it included "inappropriate humor, dancing, and stereotypes targeting more than one group," the district spokesperson said yesterday.
The show, intended as a spoof, was staged Wednesday night without a preview, said Lisa Williamson, the district's communications director. It was to have been offered Thursday, yesterday and today, but those shows were called off, Williamson said.
None of the inappropriate material was scripted, she said.
The scripts for the senior musicals as opposed to the traditional plays/musicals that schools put on are written by students as a project in senior English class and are usually satires, spoofs, or other comedy, Williamson said.
This year's musical incorporated elements from two movies, The Wedding Planner and Sweet Home Alabama, and an element of football, Williamson said. About 30 students in the school of more than 1,300 students were involved in the production.
A teacher had been advising the students, Williamson said, and "the script had been read and reviewed." That teacher, however, stopped serving as the adviser, for reasons unrelated to the content of the musical, and another member of the staff took over.
Williamson said she did not know what review was conducted by the new adviser, whom she would not name. During the performance, she said, the students ad-libbed offensive references and gestures.
There was a "lack of enthusiasm about the script, so kids took it upon themselves to jazz it up," she said.
"It's like turning on a sitcom," she added. "How many people can we offend at one time?"
Two mothers of students who participated in the musical said their children would have no comment.
About 10 parents complained about the content, and a few people we're not sure if all were parents "walked out" during the performance, Williamson said.
The school principal, Mark Schellenger, canceled the production, she said, and counseled the students on the material, which she would not characterize further.
Linda E. Grobman, schools superintendent, declined comment on the musical other than to say: "A couple of students who made some poor choices - that's not what Radnor is about."
Williamson said no further action involving the students would be taken.