Why I Think Grease Should NOT be performed by K-12 Schools

Let me begin by saying that I think the musical “Grease” is a wonderful show.  It’s music is top-notch, the characters are fun, and the plot is very entertaining.  I say that with only one small caveat:  FOR ADULTS.

I don’t understand why in the world a High School (or a Jr High School!!) administration would allow the show to be presented on their stage… to their students…. BY their students.  I think the message of the show “being cool and popular is the most important thing, even to the extent that you relax your values and morals”  runs contrary to the social principals of every public school in the country– why present it on your stage?  I’d like to see a Principal have the guts to hang such a declaration on their marquee.

“Oh, but it’s just a PLAY!  It’s pretend, nobody takes it seriously.”  How many high school kids live for the next episode of “Glee” or “Pretty Little Liars?”  Kids are looking for validation.  They need amunition to support what they’re going through.  Watching Sandy cash in her “nice girl” reputation so she can be more popular is not the kind of role model young kids should be admiring.

I’ve heard many explanations (excuses) by apologists such as:
+ It’s great material.
+ They’re going to play those parts in college, they may as well get some experience now.
+ We’re a much more advanced group.
+ There aren’t that many good shows out there for our cast requirements.

Yes, I realize there is a “school” version of the show.  It doesn’t matter– the message is the same.  Of course they’ll make a reduced version of the show and tell you it’s great for kids– they want you to buy their products!

Am I an old fuddy-duddy?  Perhaps.  But I think we should let kids be kids as long as they can.  Not that we should freeze their social/emotional development just to prolong their immaturity– but there are many, many life lessons that are better learned in innocense, before peer pressure, reinforced behavior, and adulthood kick in.  They’ll be heading off to college soon enough.  There are so many good-quality, age-appropriate shows out there [a list will follow], why be lazy?  Sure, you may have to do a little more script reading to find them– but they’re there!

About Kevin

Playwright and owner of KMR Scripts. Though it may appear to be a multimillion dollar conglomeration, KMR Scripts has a VERY small staff. I grew up in N Indiana, Mom and Dad and us 4 kids. We were upper-lower class as far as family income-- but Mom and Dad were great at not letting us know. During my high school years I thought I wanted to be a minister, but after an internship-- I decided on Theatre instead. I got a BA in Theatre at School of the Ozarks and did work on a Master of Performing Arts degree in Musical Theatre at Oklahoma City University. I left that program after 4 years, having completed all my training (reached all required proficiencies) but didn't want to do a paper. I roamed the Midwest for about 5 years working at various non-union theatres. My goal was to eventually end up in NYC, but ended up settling in Wichita, KS, working at Wichita Children's Theatre under John Boldenow and Monica Flynn. I fell in love with Children's Theatre. I joined the professional touring company in 1988, became the Tour Manager in 1989 and stayed with WCT until 1996. It was there that I wrote my first musical (Little Red Riding Hood-1993) and ended up directing, teaching, and writing for the theatre while managing the touring company. After I got married and started having kids, we wanted one of us to be at home with the kids (no day care) so I left WCT and concentrated on being a stay-at-home Dad, playwrighting and marketing my shows. It was the best decision I ever made.
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