Roald Martinsen, co-director, said the drama department put a lot of work into Sweeney Todd, as they do with every production. He declined further comment on the canceled show, saying the department is now focused on The Sound of Music.
Daniel Presley, principal of Carroll Senior High School, made the official decision because he thought the department should have a performance that is not so dark. After all, Southlake staged the productions of The Phantom of the Opera and The Women of Lockerby, both of which deal with tragedy.
Because the barber in the play murders his clients, school officials thought it best to have students perform The Sound of Music instead.
Drama students at Southlake Carroll High School will no longer be performing the musical Sweeny Todd, though they practiced songs and memorized lines for it all summer long.
Petra Dean, mother of a sophomore theater student, filed a grievance with the district asking officials to reverse the principal’s decision. She also attached a petition with more than 300 signatures. She disagrees with switching plays less than two weeks before the Sweeney Todd auditions were scheduled.
Ellen Eddleman, a senior, said she learned of the switch a few days after the death of a former Southlake Carroll student earlier this month, which she believes is the real reason for pulling Sweeny Todd.
At first, Footloose was set to replace Sweeny Todd, but when several students later pointed out that Footloose involves teenage drinking and death, it also got the boot.
“They were great productions, but in any school department you want to be eclectic,” Dr. Presley said.
“I feel cheated out of what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Ellen said. “The other shows are good, but they don’t have anything that will teach us something new.”
“I understand his logic, but he hasn’t taken into consideration the impact it’s had on the kids involved,” Ms. Dean said.
“We’re moving forward and we’re going to do this the way we always do everything, and that is by giving 120 percent,” Mr. Martinsen said.