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'Ragtime' to go on with racial slurs

UPI News Service, 02/22/2006 

School officials in Perry Township, Ind., said a production of the musical "Ragtime" would go on despite controversy over its content, including racial slurs.

Officials had previously removed sexual and religious references from the script for Perry Meridian High School's presentation of the musical, which won four Tonys in 1998. Members of the Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis protested that racial slurs had been left in, and school officials responded not by eliminating the racial language, but by restoring the sexual and religious bits, the Indianapolis Star reported.

Leaders of the local black community said they will pray in protest when the musical opens Thursday.

"There is no cultural and historical merit to 'Ragtime,'" said state Rep. William Crawford, who joined the clergy group in denouncing the choice of the musical earlier this week. "The larger issue is whether a public school that gets taxes from all people should be allowed to have a play that has racial and ethnic slurs in it."

"Ragtime," based on a book by E.L. Doctorow, depicts tensions among blacks, immigrant Jews and upper-class whites in 1906 New York.

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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