(Eventually there will be some stuff directly related to language.)
Reported several places in the last week, the fate of the musical Kismet in Johnstown PA. Here’s Scott Simon on NPR on the 24th:
Canceling The School Play Won’t Avoid ‘Kismet’
There will be no Kismet in Johnstown, Pa. This week the Richland School District canceled February’s high school student production of the play.
The 1953 musical is the story of a wily beggar-poet; his unruly, beautiful daughter; and the handsome caliph who falls in love with her at first glance.
Kismet is adapted from that collection of folk tales known as Arabian Nights, with a score drawn from the music of Alexander Borodin.
Kismet won the Tony Award for Best Musical. High school groups often perform the show because the songs can be lush and funny, there are good parts for both boys and girls, and the costumes can be colorful, florid, flowing — and cover students from head to toe. Unlike the musical Hair.
“Kismet” is set in ancient Baghdad, a time historians call the Islamic Golden Age. Johnstown is in western Pennsylvania. Flight 93 flew right over our heads, school Superintendent Thomas Fleming Jr. explains. United Airlines Flight 93, of course, plowed into the ground nearby on September 11, 2001 after the hijackers were overpowered by the passengers and crew. They died to keep the plane from crashing into the U.S. Capitol. So, it’s understandable that people might be a little more sensitive perhaps to the play’s content, Mr. Fleming told the told the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat. He said several people had complained because “Kismet” features Muslim characters; the 10-year anniversary of Flight 93′s crash had just passed. Mr. Fleming says he simply doesn’t want his young students to have to face controversy and criticism.