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  • 1.  Changing words

    Posted 11-19-2021 13:36
    I have a student who does not want to say "God" in the song "Omigod You Guys" from Legally Blonde. This isn't that surprising in our very religious small town. What would you all do?

    Suzanne Jones
    Pella Community High School

  • 2.  RE: Changing words

    Posted 11-20-2021 10:08
    We had this same scenario with one of our girls when we did Legally Blonde only it was the mom insisting she didn't say it. She sang gosh while the rest sang god.

    Lisa Groves
    Thespian Director
    Clinton High School
    Clinton, Illinois

  • 3.  RE: Changing words

    Posted 11-22-2021 07:31
    I know other productions have gotten away with "gosh," but I feel like it's a contractual violation as well as a disservice to the lyricist. When I have anything questionable in any of my shows, I make them sign off on it in their audition form (are you willing to kiss a castmate, are you willing to change clothes on stage, etc.). Then they know that once they've been cast in the role, they're required to perform it as written. I know that really doesn't help you not that the roles have been cast, just something to consider for the future. I hope it's not your Elle that's the issue.

    Cassy Maxton-Whitacre
    Theatre Department Coordinator
    Shenandoah Valley Governor's School

  • 4.  RE: Changing words

    Posted 11-22-2021 09:43
    Whatever you decide, make sure you run any lyric changes by your representative at MTI. (Meaning if you're asking to change the lyrics for the whole number.) They authors used to be very strict with the lyrics in the opening number. I don't know whether they've eased off on that at all or not. I would literally make a spreadsheet with columns for the measure/page number, the original lyric, the proposed changed, and (if needed) a brief explanation of why you're requesting it.

    Another alternative is that that student could simply not sing that lyric. In this instance, you'd not be changing the lyrics at all - just assigning who sings what based on what works for your casting. This wouldn't require approval from MTI because the audience will still hear the original lyrics.

    Best of luck!

    Matt Curtis
    Content & Marketing Director
    Educational Theatre Association

  • 5.  RE: Changing words

    Posted 11-22-2021 10:43
    Why don't you contact the licensing agency and see if you can't change it to "Omigosh".

    E. Denise Royal
    Theater Director
    Desert Edge High School

  • 6.  RE: Changing words

    Posted 11-22-2021 12:52

    In this particular instance, I would insist that they sing as written, or recast that role. It is such a large part of the song. It also teaches that you cannot just change art and copy written material to suit one or a handful of individuals. That is an important lesson. To me, any changes like this should be addressed with the selection of a show. If it could be offensive to your community, and that is an issue, then it is probably not the right show for your group to produce. 

    And, as others have said, any and all edits and substitutions must be approved for in writing before they are allowed. From my experience, that is not usually likely. 


    David Simpson
    Performing Arts Center Manager

  • 7.  RE: Changing words

    Posted 11-23-2021 10:23
    Yes to all of the above, but.... will it be noticeable if she just skips the word? If it won't be - and if you're not worried about other students asking to avoid other words  - then maybe just let her skip the word. If it will be noticeable in the performance, then maybe it's time for a lesson on contracts and rights, and time to find a different role for her.

    Ken Buswell
    Drama Teacher
    Peachtree City, GA

    Theater kills ignorance

  • 8.  RE: Changing words

    Posted 11-24-2021 10:21
    Last time I checked, a few weeks ago,  MTI will NOT change the lyrics in that song.  My best friend and fellow theater teacher had a real blow back from MTI and the authors when they requested changes at a high school in Utah.  MTI's response was don't do the show if you can't do it the way it was written. 

    So like others have suggested have the student simply not sing that word, with enough ensemble members no one will not hear her sing it.  Please send me more info about your production.  We are planning on doing it this spring in Washington. 


    Chad Taylor
    Drama Teacher
    Kentwood High School