Los Angeles News

St. Genevieve Catholic High School's 'Cabaret' production getting flak

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Cabaret" the musical looks into the seedy nightclub scene of pre-World War II Berlin. It isn't exactly your typical fare for a high school performance.

The 1972 movie version of the musical touches on the somewhat risque material. So, when St. Genevieve's High School in Panorama City recently announced its Catholic students would be putting on "Cabaret" for its spring production, not everyone was thrilled.

"It shows prostitution, cohabitation, orgies, abortion, homosexuality. Nothing in there is redeeming to a young Catholic mind," said Jesse Romero, a Catholic scholar.

Romero is using social media to pressure the school into dropping the production. He said the high school's script for "Cabaret" is chock-full of material inappropriate for high schoolers.

"This play would be fine if it's run through MTV or VH1 or 'Girls Gone Wild' or the Hip-Hop culture, but in a Catholic school, absolutely not," Romero said.

Nain Doporto, the musical's director at the school, contends that the script is based on the original production in which the costumes were toned down considerably from the movie version. Most importantly, Doporto said, is that "Cabaret" teaches the students about the events leading up to the Holocaust and the consequences of making the wrong choices in life.

"The material in Cabaret is not graphic, it's not gratuitous," Doporto said. "I don't think there is any bad behavior that they're not already used to in other programs."

"This story is a cautionary tale, where life shouldn't be lived like a cabaret, where if you do participate in these activities, there's a lot of harm that can happen to you," he added.

Linda Kelso's son has a key role in the musical and said she's proud he's involved in the show.

"It's a play, get over it," she said. "He knows he's playing a part and he's hoping he can show people that when you lead a life of corruption, your life is not going to be a good life."

School officials at St. Genevieve said they have the blessing of the church's pastor and are moving forward with the production. It's slated to hit the stage late next month.

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