Illinois College 's Production Of Bonnie And Clyde : The Musical, Part Of The Outlaw Series

Illinois College 's Production Of Bonnie And Clyde : The Musical, Part Of The Outlaw Series

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Illinois College’s production of Bonnie and Clyde: The Musical, part of the outlaw series, will premiere the last weekend of April. Featured on Broadway and hailed for its music and historical depiction of the intimate lives that the couple lived, it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. However, the show comes with an R rating for violence, language, and sexual content. As the Assistant Director of this production, and also a theatre major, the question of the sexual content and the overall appropriateness of the show for our college is in the fore front of my mind. Even more so when a small theatre program such as ours depend on large shows like these to bring in profit for the coming years the question of audience approval is important.
Dr. Nancy Taylor Porter, Professor of Theatre and director of the musical at Illinois College, commented on the importance of audience approval in an interview. She states that “some people might get offended at what they perceive to be appropriate only for private spaces.” Porter also notes that sexual content has to be taken into consideration for student audiences: “Unfortunately, our audiences are sometimes not the most mature. Almost any time there 's romantic/sexual content in a play and it 's a convo night, someone is going to wolf whistle or something to that effect.” Between the disapproval and the mature to immature audience members, it is here that many directors, actors, audience members, and community members begin to question what is appropriate to take the stage not only at the college level, but at all levels of theatre.
At this moment in time there has been little to no controversy about the performance of the musical on Illinois College campus, even with the depiction of a borde...

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... in the dramatic arts, hosts a webpage citing several musicals and plays that have been banned or canceled from middle and high schools, along with the schools reasoning behind their actions. The site states that the musical Rent was banned from being performed at several schools due to “inappropriately mature content.” The musical focuses on a group of young adults navigating through the struggles that accompany AIDS, homosexuality, gender, and transgender issues. A play called The Laramie Project, which strongly advocates against hate crimes and bullying, was banned from a high school by an administrator that stated, “the play is too adult for a high school production.” While these plays all contain what could be considered “mature” content, they delve into issues that affect people of all ages and are affecting more young people every day in our US population.

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