Pa. school pulls ‘Kismet’ after 9/11 complaints

A Pennsylvania school district has decided not to stage a Tony Award-winning musical about a Muslim street poet after community members complained about the timing so soon after the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Richland School District in Johnstown had planned to stage “Kismet” in February, but Superintendent Thomas Fleming said Tuesday that it was scrapped to avoid controversy.

“We’re not saying there’s anything bad about the musical. We may potentially produce it in the future,” Fleming told The Associated Press. The Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown first reported on the district’s decision.

Music director Scott Miller said the district, not far from where hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 crashed, last performed “Kismet” in 1983 — to sold-out audiences.

The play has no inappropriate content, Miller said, but he and other members of the performing arts committee decided to switch to “Oklahoma!” after hearing complaints.

“Kismet” is an Aladdin-style love story set in Baghdad more than 1,000 years ago. It won the Tony for best musical in 1954, and a Hollywood movie was made the next year.

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