The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


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Censorship in North’s musical creates challenges for cast and crew

Natalie Hannah

For the 2024 spring musical, North will be putting on “Chicago.” Putting on this adult musical in a high school theater, there are bound to be several parts of the show that will be altered to keep it school appropriate. While certain parts of the show may be easy to leave out, other more risqué scenes and lines are often crucial in moving along the original show, creating a unique challenge for the directors and actors to work around them.

Administration must approve any show and script that the theater department wants to use. This usually means acquiring “teen scripts” of shows.

“It is the teen version, so they have cut some of the more explicit things out,” said Konnie Sherry, choreographer and co-director of the show. “Although, I would say it’s still PG-13, with some of the stuff that’s in it.”

While a lot of the more vulgar language and suggestive scenes can be taken out easily, some of the more inappropriate scenes that are still crucial to the plot require creative workarounds.

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“In the original, you see them [in a suggestive scene]. You don’t see that here. It’s all done with just lighting and insinuations,” said Sherry.

“Chicago” is a dance heavy musical. Due to the intimate nature of some of the dances in the original show, North altered the choreography to be more appropriate for a school setting.

“It’s a very risqué show,” said Jordan Bartel, dance captain. “We kept the vibe of that, we just toned it down a little bit without completely getting rid of it.”

The more risqué dance moves can be particularly awkward to learn as well, especially for Bartel, who’s responsible for teaching the actors, some of whom have never danced before and do not know how to move their bodies in specific ways.

“I’ve had to tell them ‘stick out your butt’, ‘keep your chest up…’ it gets a little uncomfortable but everyone is really mature about it, it’s never super awkward we can all laugh about it,” said Bartel.

Another concern that comes with censoring the show is the fear of losing the impact or meaning of specific lines, scenes or sometimes even the whole show. 

“When it comes to the censoring that we see in theaters now with certain things that can’t be brought up or talked about, it really kind of ruins what a lot of theater represents and the fact that, ‘we’re here to talk about it,’” said Bill Sherry, co-director of the musical. “Chicago is an entertaining piece, but there’s also something to talk about in the show. No show doesn’t have something that you can talk about and bring out and share with other people.”

Regardless, censorship is still prominent in high school shows, and for some that’s for the better.

“It’s probably good to have more than less censorship,” said junior Maya Cassell, who plays the main character Roxie. “With an age range of 14 years old to 18 years old, there’s a pretty drastic change in maturity levels.”

“Chicago” will be performed from Thursday, April 18 through Saturday, April 20, starting at 7:30 p.m., as well as on Sunday, April 21, starting at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online on pushcoin or at the door, costing $5 for students and $10 for adults. Senior citizens can watch for free.

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About the Contributors
Max Fang
Max Fang, Video News Editor
Max is a senior, and this is his second year on staff. This year Max is serving as our Video News Editor. Max engages in student journalism because it keeps him connected with what's going on at North and allows him to pursue a passion for video making.
Natalie Hannah
Natalie Hannah, Media Editor
Natalie is a graphic designer for the Stargazer. She is a junior, and this is her second year on staff. Natalie engages in student journalism because she enjoys creating art and sharing it with others.

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