In the eyes of one set of concerned parents in Utah, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma!” is a “pornographic” bomb.
They are angry that their child’s junior high class in Payson showed students the 1999 PBS stage production, starring Hugh Jackman.
It happened in September but the parents spoke to the Nebo School District board this week, reported KUTV in Salt Lake City.
In his comments, dad Jarrod Bolton referred to the movie as a “pornographic video” and said his child was “physically upset by the situation.”
“This has been a painful process,” his wife, Kathryn, told the board.
The couple took specific aim at one scene in which Jackman, as cowboy Curly, visits the ramshackle abode of hired hand Jud.
The farm hand has girlie photos tacked to a wall and Jackman, in looking them over, pronounces that one of the women is “plum stark naked as a jaybird.” Most of the images appear to be obscured or blurred.
Bolton described to school board members how the camera “zooms in on the wall containing ten images of ten naked women. The dialogue indicates that none of them have any clothes on.”
And that wasn’t the only “porn” in the musical, Bolton said.
“The first hour was filled with verbal pornography containing lines such as ‘a girl that is round on top and round on bottom, peeling off clothes as far as she could go,’” he said, paraphrasing lyrics from one of the musical’s most recognizable songs, “Kansas City.”
School district spokeswoman Lana Hiskey told the Salt Lake City Tribune between 100 and 150 students watched the musical Sept. 28 and Sept. 29 in class periods overseen by a substitute teacher.
Showing it was a violation of the district’s media policy requiring any movie shown in its entirety to be reviewed by the teacher and approved by the principal, Hiskey said. “None of those things happened,” she told the newspaper.
She told KUTV the Boltons offered up the “one lone bad review.” Kathryn Bolton appeared to be the person airing grievances on Facebook groups this week, the newspaper reported.
“A pornographic movie was shown in a classroom setting to approximately 125 students … among other things, the movie contained an 8-second close-up of 10 full-frontal images of 10 naked women,” read one post, since deleted, according to the Tribune.
Parents of children who saw “Oklahoma!” received an email in mid-October from the principal and the school’s drama teacher.
“This movie was not previewed or approved and some inappropriate material was viewed by the students,” the email stated. “As parents, you may want to visit with your student about this.”
Bolton said he does not believe the material was show intentionally, but said it took the district too long to address his and his wife’s concerns.
“We tried for 14 days to get administrators to notify parents, and they refused,” he told the Tribune. “We simply want the administration to be accountable to parents.”