2006_05_chicago.jpgIt's high school musical time (and not just the Disney kind) but one Bronx high school has to put its production of Chicago on ice. Why? The school didn't bother to get the rights to the show, not to mention a clause that says the musical cannot be performed 75 miles within Broadway. You know, lest tourists find their way to the Bronx and want to buy tickets for a high school production. The company that represents the authors (John Kander and Fred Ebb), the Samuel French Inc., issued a "severe" cease-and-desist to the Herbert H. Lehman High School, disappointing the students who had been working on the show for months. The Daily News spoke to students who said they and teachers were crying. Principal Robert Leder said, "I'm partly guilty in that I never, ever thought of asking for permission - never ever." Hmm, let's hope the Samuel French officials don't look at Lehman high's previous musicals - what if they've been performing other musicals without permissions?

One student said, "I'm angry. I'm devastated, because we worked so hard to build this play up from nothing and it was taken away from us." Has the Bronx high school considered the "old flim flam flummox"? Or a "fake and a finagle" and holding the show underground?

Update: It looks like the kids will get to strut their stuff (we wonder if the choreography will be Fosse-esque) as a producer called the school to say there was a "misunderstanding." And by misunderstanding, they mean, "Crap, this is making us look bad to ruin a bunch of high school kids' musical dreams, even if they didn't ask for permission."

Update: Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chanceller Joel Klein issued a press release:

"We are delighted that the producers of Chicago have agreed to our requests and will allow the student-run production of this spectacular show to go forward - as scheduled and without charge - at Lehman High School. On behalf of the Lehman students and their families, we would like to thank Chicago's producers Fran and Barry Weissler, Shubert Foundation Chairman Gerald Schoenfeld, Jed Bernstein of The League of American Theatres and Producers, Brad Lohrenz of Samuel French, Inc., and Pete Sanders who represents Chicago's producers for their help getting the required copyright approval. To our aspiring Velma Kellys, Roxie Harts, Billy Flynns, and all the others, we say 'break a leg' - just not literally."

That's intriguing, given what commenter #10 says...