Parent all shook up over Elvis show
FILE - Elvis Presley, left, appears in a scene from the movie, "Kid Galahad," in this undated file photo. A parent in a Salt Lake City suburb, who was upset about Elvis Presley songs in a high-school drama, prompted educators to cancel the production, deeming it too sexually suggestive. Presley's song lyrics and a scene suggesting cross-dressing were deemed offensive by West Jordan, Utah, school administrators. (AP Photo, file)
A parent who was “All Shook Up” about Elvis Presley songs in a high-school drama prompted educators to cancel the musical, deeming it too sexual. But the decision was reversed yesterday by administrators at the high school south of Salt Lake City.
The administrators at Herriman High School received permission from the copyright owners of All Shook Up to edit some of Presley’s songs and make scene changes in the American jukebox musical that borrows from William Shakespeare.
“The show will go on,” said Sandy Riesgraf, a spokeswoman for the Jordan School District. “Our biggest concern early on, we wanted to make some changes to keep the play within community values. It’s a win-win for all of us.”
Presley warbles about a sweetheart whose “lips are like a volcano that’s hot” in his song from 1957. “I’m proud to say she’s my buttercup. I’m in love. I’m all shook up.”
His song lyrics together with a scene suggesting cross-dressing were deemed offensive by a person the school is refusing to identify.
Some think school administrators folded too easily at the start.
“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 wasn’t the first time some Utah parents balked at a school drama. In August, the family values group Eagle Forum got Jordan School District administrators to cancel Dead Man Walking, a play about a Catholic nun who counsels a death-row inmate in Louisiana.
Dead Man Walking was scratched even though much of its profanity had been removed from the script.
District officials said they failed to give All Shook Up careful scrutiny.