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The musical draws concern and support from Randolph | News, Sports, Jobs

RANDOLPH — A musical performed in March at Randolph Central School sparked concern from some who deemed its content to be not age-appropriate and then backed others to support the performers.

At the center of the case – which has now been simmering for over a month – is the musical “A Blonde’s Revenge” put on by the Randolph High School Drama Club and based on the 2001 PG-13 comedy of the same name. The popular film features Reese Witherspoon as a sorority girl who tries to win back her ex-boyfriend while attending Harvard Law School.

Randolph’s Drama Club said while promoting the musical: “Follow Elle Woods’ transformation as she tackles stereotypes and scandal in pursuit of her dreams.”

Superintendent Kaine Kelly said concerns were raised by a handful of area residents about the musical’s content before performances were held in late March.

“When it was brought to our attention about the content of the piece, we quickly made another review”, he said. “We have a process in place where parts are reviewed. This process was approved and all advertisements explained that it was a PG-13 musical.

Kelly said he supports the review process that includes the district, director and drama club students. In this case, the superintendent said “A Blonde’s Revenge” was cast about a year before its performance. He added that the musical has more scenes that could accommodate social distancing – which was still a concern for schools at the time.

After the performances, a letter was presented to the Randolph Central School Board again expressing concerns about the content of the musical.

The letter, in part, states, “We believe the selection of ‘Legally Blonde’ was not in the best interest or age appropriate of the young people who performed or the many young children who attended the play. We believe there is a wide selection of plays more suitable for high school performances.

The concerns were also the subject of an article in the April edition of a Randolph-based newspaper. This article states, “A letter had been circulating around Randolph requesting signatures from members of the community who had been troubled by some of the words in the play as well as what were considered somewhat suggestive dance moves.”

“A Blonde’s Revenge” was produced in high schools across the country, although similar concerns to those raised at Randolph were raised at other schools.

Kelly said he attended one of the performances of “A Blonde’s Revenge,” the first Randolph Central School musical to be held in person in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the performance was well received and he congratulated the pupils in the musical as well as Andrew Garvey, director of the school’s drama club.

“As always, I was very impressed with the way it was presented by these talented students,” he said. “They always do a great job.”

Kelly said Garvey resigned as director of the drama club, a decision the superintendent says was passed on before the musical was staged and is unrelated to the criticism the district has received .

Kelly said he does not dismiss the concerns raised by the community and pointed out that the decision to go with the musical was made by several people involved in its production. “The children, the director, the school made the choice on the content”, he said. “It wasn’t X-rated or offensive. They had fun doing it and they did a great job.

Several parents were scheduled to attend a meeting of the Randolph Central School Board on Tuesday to express their support for the musical and its performers.

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