(Mountain Express) The Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville recently announced that permission to stage the classic musical Westside Story have been pulled by the rights holders. That loss came as a reaction to the state's controversial House Bill 2, aka "the bathroom bill." The growing string of boycotts surrounding the bill, due to its restrictive language concerning transgender people, has finally hit Western North Carolina's theater community.
Local theaters took notice when famed Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz pulled the rights to all of his shows from being produced in N.C. These productions include Wicked and Godspell. There is concern was over whether other creators will follow Schwartz and call for boycotts of their own shows.
"Parkway Playhouse has given voice to performing artists in our community and the region for seventy years," says Andrew Gall, the theater company's artistic director. "While we respect the views of Mr. Schwartz and the authors of West Side Story, none of them have any experience in working in small rural arts organizations, and it is difficult for me to see the value in a boycott that silences artists, which is the direct result of this development. It is similarly difficult for me to understand how this effort, by these writers in particular, will actively contribute to a resolution of the conflict surrounding this law."
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