Civil Liberties

…When You Pry My Sondheim Libretto From My Cold, Dead Hands…


Insider Higher Ed has a sad-sack story about censorious college administrators shutting down a musical production:

A student production of Assassins, the award-winning musical, was to have premiered Thursday night at Arkansas Tech University, but the administration banned it—and permitted a final dress rehearsal Wednesday night (so the cast could experience the play on which students have worked long hours) only on the condition that wooden stage guns were cut in half prior to the event and not used. Assassins is a musical in which the characters are the historic figures who have tried to kill a U.S. president.

More here.

The winner here? Honestly, the potential audience for the play, which was godawful in its original conception and execution back in 1990 (and naturally, retardedly well-received in its 2004 Broadway revival). Assassins features ditties about various successful and unsuccessful attempts to kill various successful and unsuccessful American presidents. It's just one man's opinion, of course, but I dare anyone to listen to, say, the Leon Czolgosz number without wanting to put a bullet in his own head and then exhume the corpse of the Michigan-born killer and re-electrify it. Assassins is SCTV-style deep parody at its best and actual musical theater at just about its worst.

The loser here? Freedom of expression on college campuses, which has been taking it on the chin like Gerry Cooney in the first round.

Another sad tale of repression on the campus here.

reason on campus speech here.