School Drops ‘Spamalot’ Musical Because of Questionable Content

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SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT — A controversy is brewing in Lycoming County over the decision to cancel a musical that was set for students to perform next spring. In South Williamsport, administrators thought the subject matter of the musical was not appropriate for students.

We had several viewers reach out to us because they are upset South Williamsport’s Junior Senior High School has dropped a performance of Broadway’s Monty Python’s Spamalot over controversial content, which includes a homosexual wedding.

Cast members from “Spamalot” perform the Monty Python musical nightly on Broadway. It was supposed to be performed next spring in South Williamsport, but school officials decided not to run the musical because of what they think is inappropriate content.

“If it’s a controversial issue and there are other choices that would be less controversial, I would support the school,” said Manny Tskitas from South Williamsport.

“It’s doesn’t bother me,” said Jodi Cogley, whose child attends South Williamsport High School.

We reached out to the director of drama department, Dawn Burch, who says school officials are making the drama department choose another show. Burch says school officials dropped the musical because of its homosexual themes, according to an email she says she received.*

“I’d just seen one of my friends walk with her girlfriend the other day. It’s definitely in my school and all around,” said Gianna Goegard, a student from South Williamsport.

The superintendent did speak with us. He says, “We want our performances to be appropriate for the student performers and audiences so that anyone participating or watching can enjoy all aspects of the show.”

“As a parent, it wouldn’t be my top choice of a play,” said Tskitas.

Manny Tskitas’ daughter is headed into 7th grade at South Williamsport. He’s not sure his daughter would understand all the concepts in the show.

“I think in today’s day and age, kids get exposed to things very quickly and a lot sooner than my generation and the generation before. So, for the school to take a stand like that, I’m perfectly okay with that,” said Tskitas.

Newswatch 16 did receive emails from members of the arts community in Williamsport who say the South Williamsport school’s decision is insensitive and harmful to children in the area. Again, the school says the show would have to be heavily edited to fit a wider age group. No decision has been made on what show the school will perform instead.

*7/3/14 – An earlier version of this story mistakenly attributed comments about homosexuality not existing in the community to an email sent by the high school principal. In fact, the email did NOT contain those comments. Newswatch 16 regrets the error and apologizes for any confusion.


  • Betsy Ellis

    The blame here is not the administration, it is on the person who made this choice in the first place! What a poor choice to make, big bad decision on her part. Sure you were trying to attract kids into participating but that could have been done in other ways. Why choose a show that would bring questionable publicity to you kids?

  • Former Student

    I am a 2004 graduate of South Williamsport and this decision disappoints me on several levels. While I would like to see the exact wording of the emails from the administration, the fact that the show was cancelled for homosexual themes and because the content is beyond the comprehension of the teenagers is absurd. I read a lot of books, plays, novels, and short stories while at South Williamsport that were beyond my comprehension and contained sexually explicit themes, i.e. Shakespeare. This content did not in any way ruin me, but opened my mind to a bigger world than the narrow-minded Central PA. I had gay classmates who I know did not have an easy time while at South Williamsport and I know that there was no where to go for them to seek help in coping with going to high school there. I truly hope that a comment as ignorant as “homosexuality does not exist in a conservative community like South Williamsport” was not actually said because it would be very representative of the close-minded denial that exists in that area as a whole. The Williamsport area has a major issue with heroin, gang violence, and other threats to the students at SW High School and that should be the focus of threats to teens, not preventing them from being exposed to homosexuality and adult themes (lets face it these kids are playing violent video games and watching sexually explicit television and movies at home). I have since moved on to a big City and while I miss my friends and family in the area, I am so happy to live in a place that contains a diverse group of individuals and where that diversity is celebrated. I agree with the other commentors that if you don’t want your child to see the show or participate, then be a parent and make that happen. However, I believe these students also shouldn’t be sheltered and hidden from the diversity in the world and taught to think that there is something wrong with these themes. Let them participate and learn and make up their own minds.

  • John

    Please.!!! Everyone. Hear this. The principal did not say that. It was a fabrication by someone trying to make a name for herself. WNEP needs to dig just a little deeper and stop this bleeding now.

      • Anonymous

        Do you have proof that this was said? Has anybody other than Mrs. Burch seen this email? While I have no doubt that administrators would feel this way, I do doubt that a principal would have put this thought in writing. Many students had decided to not audition for this show because they did not want to do a show that they felt would be inappropriate for their families to see. This is probably the real reason the administration decided against it. As for the principal’s “statement,” I know that I, as well as many other people, would like to see proof that he made this statement before his reputation is tarnished. If he did make these comments, then perhaps the district should look into hiring a principal that, at the very least, is able to keep his personal feelings out of official business.

      • M Beck

        National level.. Its gone viral. The SWSD needs to put this to bed!!!!! Or there will be little support, business or otherwise, for any production.

  • CommonsenseMom

    Can anyone debate this topic without complete outrage? For crying out loud look at the facts. This is a public school. Like it or not, you have to please the parents who elect the school board who hire the teachers. If the Super thought the content was inappropriate, it probably is. He deals with parents all day long, he should know. If you want to see Spamalot, go to New York & see it. I’m all for freedom of expression and artistic license…BUT I do have children. And maybe I want them to learn about homosexuality in a loving way at an age-appropriate time..not some sarcastic spoof that they won;t understand. Bottom line-I would NOT take my kids to see this. Neither would many parents, that means less revenue for the school & drama department. Pick another show…not a big deal. By the way, I consider the Super’s comments to be pure hearsay -until I see the email- he didn’t say it. Grow up people…find something legit to complain about.

    • iverson7502

      Theater is completely subjective. First of all for the principal to say that homosexuality does not exist in South Williamsport is complete bigotry and ignorance. Second, to the parents on here saying I wouldn’t want my kids learning about this issue like this, news flash: That is why YOU are the parent, act like one! If you don’t want them seeing the show or being a part of it, don’t allow them to, but don’t punish the kids who work hard to put these shows on and the families who are ok with this content.

      Your opinion is now law.

      • CommonsenseMom

        Get it right…I did not say “I wouldn’t want my kids learning about issues like this”…I said I wouldn’t want them learning about it IN THIS WAY. Furthermore, these productions often rely on advertising dollars from local businesses….businesses that may be reluctant to have their name associated with anything controvercial. That’s my point. How are the kids being punished by choosing another production? It’s not scheduled till next spring, they haven’t even started on it yet. See my point exactly…people cannot sensibly debate an issue without skipping most of the facts.

    • Ryan Letcavage

      I agree things should be rationalized in make important decisions that may set a precedence. Regardless of opinions, it is the right of the public to know the policies of a school before they enroll, so that they can move to a different district or enroll in a private school if they disagree. This school is violating it’s own policy.

      Policy 103 – Nondiscrimination in School and Classroom Practices

      “The Board declares it to be the policy of this district to provide an equal opportunity for all students to achieve their maximum potential through the programs offered in the schools regardless of race, color, age, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin, marital status, pregnancy or handicap/disability.

      The district shall provide to all students, without discrimination, course offerings, counseling, assistance, employment, athletics and extracurricular activities.”

      They need to rewrite this to reflect actual actions taken. It should read: ” minority students will not be represented in extracurricular activities to avoid offending the majority view of the community. ”

      Students continuing to college will be surrounded by people of all creeds and beliefs, and part of the high school experience is learning to work along side those with different views, and to learn how to respectfully disagree with views that are protected under policy but not necessarily held by everyone.

      Basically, the administrator made a decision based on a combination of personal beliefs and / or beliefs of the community instead of following the district policy put in place to ensure that all members of the public have an opportunity for representation in programs of the school.

      If this were a private school, and they clearly stated a school formed around a certain set of ideas, then this would be fine. But not only is it not a private school, but it also misrepresenting itself to the residents of the state that may choose a location to move based upon school district, by stating one policy but then not adhering to it when it doesn’t feel like it.

      Many of the most common of musicals have heterosexually suggestive content themes… Footloose “The Girl Get’s Around”, Bye Bye Birdy includes orgies, Grease, “Summer Loving, Summer Nights” all heterosexually themed suggestive musicals. Also, if a particular scene or line is determined to be too inappropriate… they are often modified or omitted, before being approved.

  • Bill

    School Administration Media Relations 101…Future and current school administrators and school board members there is a lesson in this story. The lesson is entitles “What not to do!” To paraphrase Doctor Phil, ” What were you thinking when you made this decision?”
    Do not write statements in emails that state, “Homosexuality does not exist in a conservative community such as South Williamsport.” I was taught do not place anything in an email that you would not want read on the nightly news. Your actions have proved my “old” school law professors point.
    Finally, haven’t you noticed the changing trend in same sex relationships (legally) across the country, including Pennsylvania? Your actions demonstrate a narrow minded patriarchal attitude that places your school district and community in an uncomfortable position that is impossible to defend.

    • Truth Seeker

      Great advice but again, we still have NO PROOF of said email because frankly those words were never written in an email.

      • Dennis

        so apparently we do have proof…since you seem to know what was or wasn’t in the email. you can clear this whole thing up then and all this chatter could be over!

  • Wendy Keefer-DeHart

    I graduated from South Williamsport in the early 1980’s, and homosexuality existed in not just our town, but our school even back then. How short sighted, narrow minded, and bigoted of the administration to say it doesn’t exist in our community today. They need to wake up and smell the coffee. As school administrators, they should be encouraging tolerance, not intolerance. If you don’t like the content of the play, don’t go see it.

    • Fratboy

      WNEP. Please publish the contents of the Burch email. I think she made-up the statements expressed by the school principal. Who, in their right mind, would send an email, in those words?

  • Fratboy

    I just love how students and recent grads get on this forum and explain to us, seasoned and experienced adults, about the ways of the world. They live in their little school -world and pretend to know-it-all, even more so than the adult teachers who possess advanced college degrees.

    • Anon

      I love how you are so easily ready to criticize the recent graduates and current students of the school, while your username is “Fratboy”! One of the greatest men that I am honored to know and have in my life (who is also most likely twice as “seasoned and experienced” in comparison to yourself) has always taught me that just because someone is an adult does not make them right. I am also a recent graduate of South Williamsport. I am in support of the schools decision. I realize that others oppose it, and that many of them are of my generation. But in no way whatsoever does that relinquish them from having an opinion and standing up for what they believe! So, before you are so fast to scrutinize someone for their opinion and make it seem that they are trying to teach you about the world, maybe you could just listen to what they have to say…. and then you just might learn something.

      • Steve

        It looks as though South Williamsport is going to have to get some educators and school,authorities who are more in step with today’s world.

  • James McNoland

    We should all unite and tell as many LGBT activist groups that they banned the show for homosexual themes. Not inappropriate content for minors, but homosexuality? Even in conservative PA we can have gay marriage now. I’m sure there are students at this school that have same sex parents. Watch out South Williamsport.

  • Anonymous student

    As a student of the school, I can say first hand that the administration at south williamsport is very narrow minded with the running of the district. For example, the superintendent, Dr. Mark Stamn, would not allow a group of students to create an anti-bullying video for the school even after younger students have felt constantly threatened by other students. The school fails to notice that they have problems and live in complete denial of major social issues. Our principal, Mr. Jesse Smith, has no idea what exists with in “our conservative community” the whole administration could care less about us. I would like to see action taken for his ignorant comment about the whole situation.

    • haterobics

      Keep in mind that if the administration does push back on anything like starting a GSA, they are breaking the law under the 1984 Federal Equal Access Act. Groups like GLSEN and the ACLU can help students push back against the administration when they try to break the law.

      • Anon

        Seriously? Without any burden or suggestion of proof, your first piece of advice is to contact GLSEN or the ACLU to “push back against the administration WHEN, they try to break the law”? Do you know any of the administration or faculty? Have you seen them try to break the law? When will they break the law? You wrote “when” they break the law, not if. Seems to me that all you want to do is start trouble for people you do not know by preying on an impressionable young adult who may have a narrow view of what exactly the job of school employees is.

    • Anon

      What action would have taken against someone if they made this entire story up and did not have, or suddenly could not produce this damning e-mail? What punishment would you garner this news station if they misrepresented Mrs. Burch and what she actually said. I suspect that these will be a more pertinent questions once all of the dust settles here.

  • Heidi

    You’re spinning the homosexual issue but there is more to this play than that. it does have other sexual content that is inappropriate the Jr/Sr High schooolers to perform. this is rated PPG13 so why would it be appropriate for Jr high to do? Besides that, the British humor in this is above the talent level of these kids to be able to pull off. I believe the choice was self-serving on the part of the drama director. And I believe the spin on homosexual is also self-serving.

  • Kris Pfirman

    My name is Kris Pfirman and I’m very disappointed in this.. I was a graduate of 2006 that was very involved in the development of such program when our program started gravitating bigger numbers of attendance. We had plays such as Grease, Guys and Dolls, and our Pinnacle of Beauty and the Beast… It has since taken off like wild fire… and I am proud to say that a legacy was left. I have returned for more than one play since my departure. I was involved in this program and this deserves some attention. This event needs to be proposed in front of the school board if the administration nixed the idea. The script needs to be evaluated first off in front of the community and not the administration; and homosexuality? content in something like Monty Python Spamalot? Tell me who has actually reached out and appreciated the content in such a Broadway Phenom like that! Ladies and Gents coming from the kid that was the Beast in Beauty and the Beast that fired off our program with sparks with people like the ever-most enticing Sara Bartholomew, Brilliant Play writer Kyle Wilson and Many others to many to be mentioned who got started in such programs?… If you as a parent, think that a homosexual marriage is too “controversial”… let it be known that homosexuality is real! I see it everyday as a clinician across multiple states, PA, SC, OR + others… It is not a good or bad thing, it is REAL, that’s all that matters! I get in trouble for making a stand upon your sexuality, conservative or democratic????? Really???!?!?!? How about double standards, the community should be incredible outraged. What is the standpoint… your kid’s are exposed to a PLAY… PLAY…. let’s review the definition of play… “engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.” Hence the definition SPAMALOT… let’s review spamalot… Monty Python’s Spamalot is a musical comedy adapted from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Like the film, it is a highly irreverent parody of the Arthurian Legend, but it differs from the film in many ways.

    One of the musical’s creators, Eric Idle, explained the title in a February 2004 press release:[1]

    I like the title Spamalot a lot. We tested it with audiences on my recent US tour and they liked it as much as I did, which is gratifying. After all, they are the ones who will be paying Broadway prices to see the show. It comes from a line in the movie which goes: “we eat ham, and jam, and Spam a lot.”

    The original 2005 Broadway production, directed by Mike Nichols, won three Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical of the 2004–2005 season and received 14 Tony Award nominations. During its initial run of over 1,500 performances it was seen by more than two million people and grossed over $175 million
    engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.
    Has anyone actually seen SPAMALOT?

    South Williamsport, as an Alum, I am disappointed. I can’t do much but shake my head. Unfortunately, I know most of the administration and I must say… Job not well done… On your recommendations, maybe I’ll go to my clinic tomorrow and make sure they know that homosexuality is “terrible”… I took a lot away from how I was brought up in that community and that wasn’t one of those points. I can’t agree with this. Homosexuality is real and regardless if you are ready or not, it’s not good or bad, it’s real. No +/-, it’s just a shear preference. Remember they are kids preforming a great play. A world famous play none the less. I shake my head… I don’t agree.

    • Truth Seeker

      Well written post. Unfortunately this entire article is a farce and sheds unnecessary attention on a problem that never existed.

  • Fratboy

    Half the comments on this forum are “stupider” than the story. The administration’s butts are on the line. Everything they do or say is scrutinized by an uninformed public. Always err on the side of caution and your rear-end does not get kicked. Let the folks who run the show decide what is appropriate.

  • A Homo

    This is disgusting. Sure, it’s fine if you don’t believe oin homosexuality. But to revoke a play just because of it? That is absolutely ABSURD!


    I remember at Milton High School 1981, we almost didn’t get to do “Grease” because of Rizzo’s questionable past and we had to change “Fungu” to “Ragu”. Now that all seems so silly. This will too. Leaders either decide, make a conscious decision to change or even to change their mind or think bigger than their closed mentality for the betterment of ALL of their kids. Homosexuality is as old as mankind, but we are now just bringing it out into the light for all to see…and accept. Will Williamsport be on the wrong side of history? resisting change until the generations die and change on their own? Come on PA. Put this principal and super on notice. We as a community want equal rights for all, let your school and theater represent the truth of TODAY, not the bigotry of yesteryear.

    • Anon

      I am not sure who your “we” is that wants these things, but I am certainly not part of it. Speak for yourself, stop grandstanding. If you can’t, try out politics, you sound just like the whole lot of them.

      • Crooner

        Totally cool ANON if you don’t want these things for you…but schools, government, public community is for all, we (you) don’t have the luxury of being in public office or public service such as schools and discriminate. I realize this is a much bigger subject than a high school play. The south wanted no part in equal rights for a long time too, the nation didn’t want to make sure that women got equal opportunity and equal pay for a long time too. These inclusive changes are important and the USA for the amazing country we are. Change comes in generations, either you jump on, or the world just waits til you are dead and change takes place without you. If this is grandstanding, I will own it, and politics? it would be an honor to serve my country.

      • Joe P.

        While I agree mostly with Anon, Crooner does make some good points. Crooner, why is it that this topic requires a coming of age for those with more primitive thinking, yet the removal of God from school garnered no such attention. I see no issue with anyone that chooses to teach their children traditional values. I think that their choices should be respected and honored. I hold the same regard for those who wish to teach their children other view points. I do not see where and how the school should have any part of either teachings. I realize that many historical events that have made our country great were controversial at the time. History has proven that the ones you mentioned resulted in a better world for everyone. These topics hardly compare to the topic at hand.

        Though I feel very confident that my religion guides me in what I should be doing in life and that it is the truth path to my salvation, I do not want it espoused in the school. I acknowledge that if my beliefs are going to be taught that we must allow all beliefs to be taught and I really do not want my child being exposed to all of them. It is my job to teach my children values, moral, ethics and religion until they are old enough to make their own choices, no one else.

        So if the school, government, and public community is for all, as you stated, why are my wishes, and many others like me, to leave objectionable content and indoctrinated schools of though that are being pushed on my students allowed? Lets face the reality here and acknowledge that most of the agenda driven changes are more progressive. There are not radical movements to be more accepting of Christians or to allow tolerance for those who hold traditional values dear. It is quite the opposite. In this very school district, just this past commencement, a law suit was threatened against the district because the guest speaker said a prayer during the ceremony. The same gentleman threatened legal action if our local school board recited the Lords prayer, as has been done since inception, at the beginning of a school board meeting.

        Let me parent my children as I see fit. I will teach them about controversial things, many that I do not agree with but acknowledge exist and are here to stay, as I see fit. No one should be able to push their agenda on our children, not you or I. I am certain that I would not agree with all of the things that you would teach your children, and it is likely that you would feel the same way about me. So, let us both teach our children as we see fit, not ask the school, government, and public community to get involved. Just my thoughts and worth every penny you paid for them.


    As a whole all school plays are disgusting. Always encouraging promiscuity, seduction, etc…Seriously as if any of that needs to be encouraged in this STD, herpes infested nation. No, sorry I don’t go for that agenda being encouraged. I don’t see how it could be healthy in any stance in the long run for anyone. Antidote-aim high-teach abstinence and respect for your body and for other peoples bodies, so children at least have a chance to be raised in a stable home. If plays can’t be conducted to encouraged children to be men and women with honor and high standards, at least be honest of the reality of where promiscuity leads you, children raised by children, children feeling forced to consider killing another child-one that is within them; dads not being fathers because they themselves never had one. I’ve seen my fair share of high school plays-we can do better. We have to learn to take the medicine if we want to get better, might not like it but someone has to speak the truth of these social affairs, our children are hanging in the balance. FYI-I wish they would do an accurate play about Jesus-Oh wait there are probably Jesusphobic people out there that would be offended.

    • X

      This atticle is about the judgement of the South administrators, not STDs, kids killing one anotner, or religion. You sound like a homophobic to me because you took one thing and warped it out of proportion. Think before you talk or think next time.

  • Kevin J. Payne

    I take strong exception to the principal’s email in which he is reported to indicate that conservative communities and homosexuals are mutually exclusive. It is this type of naïveté and blatant disregard that alienates the very young people in his charge, and lends to the suicide rate among homosexual teens. Homosexuality is neither a liberal or conservative phenomenon, and is present across all demographics and the socioeconomic spectrum. No one should be more aware of this than an educator/administrator in the PUBLIC school system.

  • Person

    Theatre as an art form is intended to not only to provide an enjoyable escape from reality, but to use that platform to convey a message that should make every single person uncomfortable at some point. And that should be okay, and expected; not only in theatre but in life. Even the most revered classics have controversial elements within them. If South Williamsport feels that “Spamalot” is too ritzy for their community I can’t see even “South Pacific” being “…appropriate for the student performers and audiences so that anyone participating or watching can enjoy all aspects of the show.” Quite frankly that is not the point of theatre, and not a lesson that should be taught to high school students.

  • Someone

    As a former graduate with friends still in the school, it may also be nice to point out that many students in the drama department at the school were not interested in auditioning for this play anyway due to the “dry humor”. Many students, some of which were just in the past production of “How to Succeed…”, felt as though “Spamalot” was a poor choice for a high school play. There is also poor feeling about the great Mrs. Burch who has had her nose so far up the school faculty’s butt that her daughter (a mediocre actress at best) was pushed into the lead roles when other students were clearly better options. Many of the students I spoke with even went so far as to discuss how much they couldn’t stand Mrs. Burch’s decisions or how she changed dance routines and various other things. Perhaps the school would be better off to hire someone better and do a play that is more “high school”. I don’t mean that in terms of homosexuality, but in a play that the students will enjoy performing and going to see as an audience member. Did anyone think to ask the students’ opinions in the first place?

    • apersonwithabrain

      I’m not quite sure you understand the reason as to why this is an issue here. Now, I know nothing about the goings-on at South Side, and I’ve frankly never followed past plays. But I can say that hearing about this upsets me for one reason, and that is a principal of a PUBLIC high school making remarks that are essentially homophobic. Sorry, but that’s just wrong, my friend. You can’t be a principal of a school in PA and say things like that. You just can’t. And if you want to support the administration, by virtue of that support, you are also supporting homophobia in the community. And that’s wrong, too. Regardless of the drama that’s taken place in your drama club, sorry kid, but this is much bigger than that. And besides, if you’re using arguments like her “nose is so far up the school faculty’s butt” and insulting the quality of acting of a student, sorry but I have to assume you’re a very recent graduate, so I’ll forgive you for not knowing much about what really matters. And besides, if kids are participating in theatre, I guarantee they’re a bit more to the left than, say, football players and cheerleaders, to speak your language. It’s time to grow up and realize what really matters here–and I mean that not just for you, but for all of you South Siders, young and old. (cough cough Jesse Smith)

      • Anon

        So If the principal did not say these things, or if Mrs. Burch never said these things to the news station, will you be pleased that you tarnished an innocent persons reputation at the expense of writing off a young person as not being able to understand? I suspect you will have egg on your face when this is done.

    • Anon

      Sure. Why not ask their opinions on homework too, or taking tests, or what they want to learn?

      Oh wait, because school curriculum is supposed to be structured and not decided by students. Silly me.

      Maybe they should quit drama if they can’t handle something they aren’t comfortable with. I gurantee you you’re never going to get a comfortable ride through life once you’re off your daddy’s free ride. Especially if they have any desire to pursue a career in acting.

      • Someone

        I love that you think drama (something students voluntarily do in their free time) should be put on the level of academics such as homework, tests, and whatnot…. That makes next to no sense.
        As for acting, how many people from small town South Williamsport so you really believe are gonna make it big? This is something for students to do for FUN! Not become professionals. And as for my financial background, you know nothing about whether or not I’m riding free on my “daddy”. Quit throwing out things you don’t know and trying to down play anything. You don’t know so keep your mouth shut.

    • JH

      I just read a comment that students who participated in “How to Succeed in Business without really trying” — a show that’s just plastered with sexism, has boozing and a floozy in it– didn’t feel comfortable with “Spamalot” because of it’s “dry humor”?
      Seems like there’s a lot of poor judgement to go around. Yeah, maybe “How to Succeed…” was ok in the 80s, but if you want that kind of sexist crap stay home and watch Mad Men.

  • Unknown

    As someone who knows the school district well I can say that South Williamsport isn’t conservative at all. I saw more gay relationships than I did a boy and girl. Their second problem was interviewing a teacher in Manny T. Obviously he is going to agree because at that School district they are willing to lie and do whatever to save face and maintain a “Good” image. The superintendent, I feel, is a homophobic. There have been more questionable plays performed there. And as for Mrs. Burch, she is delusional if she thinks that doesn’t exist in South. As a Spamalot fan, I say they should do this play, Children cant be sheltered forever, they have to learn or hear about this kind of content eventually and its not like the play is promoting it. It is only doing it in fun.

    • southsideresident

      I agree with you entirely, however I do think that Mrs. Burch would agree with your points, as well. In the article, it actually indicates that she was the one who received the article with the homophobic remarks. I live in the community and am familiar with her and her contributions to the school, and can guarantee that she would not support such intolerant remarks of the administration.

      • Unknown

        That is true, she has done great things for the department. As a former student, I have meet her a few times and I know she wouldn’t support that. She has basically made it what it is today, but minus the homophobic parts

      • Interested Parent

        I’m sure Ms. Burch would agree with you, but the success of the school’s drama club predates her involvement. She deserves credit for stepping up, but she hardly “made it what it is today.”

  • Anon

    To the offended party:

    Grow up. Teach your kids tolerance. We coexist with each other, you can’t just shield people from reality because one day you’re going to have to release them into it. Would you like send closed minded bigots with archaic beliefs into society? Because that’s what you’re doing. It’s disgusting the way some people think, but it’s no reason to deny people valid entertainment because some people might get a little butthurt. Get over yourselves.

  • Oskar Mitchell

    I graduated in 2009. I’m a transgender male. It was hell on earth at that school. I was treated like absolute dirt. So it’s not a surprise at how close minded they are. To say homosexuality doesn’t exist in South Williamsport is ridiculous and seriously Pathetic. I feel bad for any LGBT student who attends or will attend in the future.

  • C.B.

    The national tour of “Spamalot” was done at Bloomsburg University not too long ago. It’s a wonderful show, with a good bit of humor. All in all, it is a terribly silly show that would be a delight to see performed by enthusiastic student actors. Let us not forget, too, that the arts are for everyone and not just the lowest common denominator of the masses.

    It also appears that the students seem to get it better than the adults: there are LGBT people everywhere. To pretend they don’t exist because you’re in conservative town is just plain ignorance of reality. It would be like Berwick claiming it doesn’t have a meth problem.

    In a touch of delicious irony, pretending gay people don’t exist also groups you with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (of Iran), who made similar claims about his country and lack of homosexuals. So I guess it’s nice that the WASPy conservatives of South Williamsport agree with the Muslims of Iran. I guess there really can be peace and understanding between the religions.

  • Anon.

    Mr. Tsikitas happens to be an employee of the school district, serving as a librarian and science teacher so I’m not really surprised by his endorsement of the district’s decision.

    The notion that homosexuality doesn’t exist in “conservative” South Williamsport is naive and down-right laughable. I find it hard to believe that these themes are new to most students in grades 7 through 12 when even Disney shows like “Good Luck Charlie” are addressing same sex relationships.

  • MWM

    Do they have to go out of their way one have to choose a play that is so blatantly controversial? I don’t see the need for purposeful avoidance either; perhaps some happy place in the middle? I don’t see Monty Python gay content or not as being appropriate material for a high school production period. There is so much more tasteful theater out there!

    • C.B.

      “Taste” is entirely subjective. Theatre is not all done by Disney with a G-rating. Even Andrew Lloyd Webber has questionable content.

      Perhaps Shakespeare would be more you’re liking? They could do “Romeo and Juliet,” where a teenagers (Juliet is 13, Romeo a few years older) run off together, get married, have sex, and then commit suicide?

      Or “Macbeth?” A bit of, “lets kill everyone in the name of power” could be fun to see teenagers perform.

      “Duchess of Malfi,” with more killing of the cast with a touch of incest thrown in.

      Or perhaps they should all just do the “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” to be sure that no one is ever offended and parents aren’t reminded that their children are growing up in a world full of adult themes that they’ve already been exposed to in less clean ways than a satirical musical.

      • Ted Taylor

        I would personally be offended by “Itsy Bitsy Spider” as we conservative towns like South Williamsport don’t actually HAVE spiders.


    “Get your act together WNEP and learn who to interview. Manny Tskitas is a teacher at south. Of course he’s going to be in favor of the side that gives him his paychecks.” -former South graduate

  • Joe Schmoe

    Good for the superintendent to stand up to the “agenda”. Be prepared though, Mr. Superintendent, for there will be rain from this parade….

  • Anonymous

    I believe this not so much about the content of the play, but more so the homophobic view stated by the superintendent.

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