Elvis leaves school all shook up

Last updated 09:56 04/01/2013
Elvis
THE KING: Elvis performs in Hawaii in 1972.

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A parent in the American state of Utah has got All Shook Up about a school musical featuring Elvis Presley songs, so the production has been cancelled.

The American jukebox musical borrows from Presley's songbook and puts a modern twist on William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

In the musical, Presley warbles over a sweetheart whose "lips are like a volcano that's hot" in his 1957 song.

Presley's lyrics were deemed as "too sexually suggestive" and a scene suggesting cross-dressing was also deemed offensive by school administrators in Salt Lake City, so Herriman High School cancelled rehearsals for the show, said Sandy Riesgraf, a spokeswoman for the Jordan School District.

However, some parents think school administrators surrendered too easily.

"I'm at a loss," Jill Fishback, whose daughter worked on the production, told The Salt Lake Tribune.

"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."

It isn't the first time some Utah parents have put an end to a school drama.

In August, the family values group Eagle Forum got Jordan School District administrators to cancel a production of Dead Man Walking, a play about a Catholic nun who counsels a death-row inmate.

Dead Man Walking was scrapped even though administrators said much of its profanity had been stripped from the script.

The unidentified parent who got all hot and bothered over All Shook Up alerted officials to parts of the script that were deemed offensive.

"We want our drama to be a great experience not just for our students but the theatre-goers. We don't want to offend anyone," Riesgraf said.

"What was communicated to us, they were upset with sexually explicit language and some other aspects of the play - what they deemed cross-dressing."

The backlash over Dead Man Walking prompted policy changes that allowed administrators to quickly eliminate All Shook Up from production.

Jordan officials have given parents a greater say in student productions. They require actors to secure a parent's permission and drama teachers to seek clearance for plays not on an approved list.

All Shook Up had been in rehearsal for months. Riesgraf said another drama, yet to be selected, would replace it.

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- AP

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