SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

April 1, 2014

Timberlane asked to restore "Sweeney Todd"

(Continued)

Sherman, former executive director of the American Theatre Wing, said yesterday he plans to attend a forum at the school tomorrow to give the public a chance to comment on the cancellation. The forum begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Timberlane library.

Sherman said he hopes to speak if nonresidents are allowed to comment.

“I want to be there to be supportive, and I will speak if I have the opportunity to,” he said. “I will certainly make my feelings known.”

If not allowed to speak, Sherman said, he still will support those fighting to let the show go on.

Sherman’s latest column, published yesterday, urges any student or adult involved in a production of “Sweeney Todd” to tell Timberlane administrators about how well the show was received by the public.

He also appeals to others in the entertainment industry to weigh in.

“If you are a theater professional who cares about our next generation of theater artists and the next generation of audiences,” Sherman said, “write and tell them why you think students should — perhaps even must — take on work like ‘Sweeney Todd.’”

Sherman said the situation at Timberlane is comparable to threats to cancel a performance of “Rent” last weekend at a high school in Trumbull, Conn. The play went on as scheduled, he said.

When plans to perform “Sweeney Todd” created an uproar at his alma mater in Woodbridge, Conn., last year, Sherman expressed his concerns about censorship. The show went on.

Mikkelsen said yesterday that Superintendent Earl Metzler will moderate the one-hour public forum, and speakers will be given three minutes to speak.

Metzler did not return multiple calls for comment yesterday. When finally reached, Metzler said he was too busy to speak. He said last week he wanted “an all-inclusive performance that the community can enjoy.”

School Board Chairman Nancy Steenson also did not return calls for comment yesterday.

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