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Kingdom City’ Examines Conflict Between Artistic Freedom And Community Values

Cristina Gerla (left) as “Katie” and Katie Sapper as “Crystal” in La Jolla Pl...

Credit: La Jolla Playhouse

Above: Cristina Gerla (left) as “Katie” and Katie Sapper as “Crystal” in La Jolla Playhouse’s world premiere production of "Kingdom City," by Sheri Wilner.

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The La Jolla Playhouse production of "Kingdom City" was inspired by a true story: Student productions of "Grease" and "The Crucible" were cancelled in a small town in Missouri, after complaints that student performers were acting out "immoral behavior."

Seeing teenagers take on adult roles in high school plays can range from delightful to cringe worthy. But when those teenage actors grapple with adult themes in school productions, the results can be disturbing for an entire community. Many high school plays across the country have become targets of controversy and censorship.

"Kingdom City," written by Sheri Wilner, explores the tension between artistic freedom and community values.

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