We provide this information as a service and do our best to inform our patrons as to content. Bear in mind that the question of what is or isn’t offensive is an extremely subjective one, particularly when it comes to determining the appropriateness of plays for children. If you have any concerns about a play’s appropriateness, we strongly encourage you to read this guide carefully, view our website guide and/or read the script before purchasing.
THE LAST SHIP
Synopsis: In this autobiographical musical created by the rock musician Sting, young Gideon Fletcher leaves his hometown in Northern England to see the world, leaving behind his father, the shipyards, and the love of his life, Meg. He returns fifteen years later to find that the shipyard is about to be shut down and Meg is now a single mother working in the local pub. As the men try to come up with a plan to build “one last ship” before the yard closes, Gideon is drawn into the struggle at the same time that his feelings for Meg are rekindled.
Language: The men and women in the show are rough working-class people in a small coastal English town, and their language is correspondingly rough. There is a small amount of strong language in the show, including a number of uses of the old Anglo Saxon obscenity. The strong language in the show is almost always used for comic effect or to signal affection towards other characters.
The language includes “bastard,” “arse,” “shite,” “bollocks,” and ten variants of the word “fuck.”
Smoking/Drinking/Drug Use: Much of the story takes place in the local pub, so there will be scenes with drinking and smoking.
Violence: None to speak of. The townsmen occasionally brawl, but quickly settle their differences over a pint of ale.
For Which Audiences? The musical’s occasional strong language may be discomfiting to conservative audience members, and may make the show unsuitable for younger children. The musical will be of great interest to teenaged audiences, and adult audiences who can overlook the small amount of strong language. The show is probably not appropriate for children under the age of ten; children ten and over should attend at a parent’s discretion.
Rating: The show is PG-13 in its themes and storytelling; one recur-ring use of a four letter obscenity might tip the show into an R rating.
THE GLASS MENAGERIE
Synopsis: Tennessee Williams’ classic play concerns Tom, “a poet with a job in a warehouse,” his fragile, shy sister Laura, and their indomitable mother Amanda, who works heroically to keep her family together and dreams of a “gentleman caller” who will one day arrive to sweep her daughter off her feet.
Language: Very little; one profanity and a few exclamatory oaths.
Smoking/Drinking: Tom and Jim smoke.
For Which Audiences? The Glass Menagerie is a major American play and is suitable for all audiences, including children ten and older. Younger children might be bored.
Rating:The movie version of The Glass Menagerie was rated PG.
Synopsis: Based on the classic Dickens novel, Oliver! follows the fortunes of young orphan Oliver Twist, who starts out in a workhouse, is sold to an undertaker, escapes there only to fall in with a band of thieves, becomes a thief himself under the tutelage of Fagin and the Artful Dodger, briefly escapes that life when he is rescued by the benevolent Brownlows, only to be kidnapped and threatened by the violent Bill Sykes.
Smoking/Drinking: Nancy, Bill Sykes’ girlfriend, works in a pub, and one of the big musical numbers in the show, “Oom-Pah-Pah,” is an old drinking song, so there will be depictions of drinking.
Violence: The world Oliver passes through is often violent, although everything turns out all right in the end. Bill Sykes is a criminal who beats and ultimately kills his girlfriend, and he threatens to do the same to Oliver. Fagin, also a comic character, has violent undercurrents. This violence may be too much for children between the ages of five and ten, but children over ten will likely take it in stride.
For Which Audiences? Oliver! is a family classic that is suitable for all audiences including children; children between the ages of five and ten should attend at a parent’s discretion.
Rating: The movie version of Oliver! was rated G.
Synopsis: August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Fences tells the story of Troy Maxson, an African-American man in 1957 Pittsburgh who works as a garbage man to provide a home for his family, while remembering with great bitterness the fact that segregation kept him from the chance of playing major league baseball. When his son Cory is given an opportunity to go to college on a football scholarship, it sets up an age-old conflict between father and son.
Language: There is a small amount of profane or vulgar language, but nothing that would earn the play a stronger than PG-13 rating.
As was typical in 1957, the African-American men in the play refer to each other, affectionately, as “niggers.” In addition, the play includes “Goddamn”(four times), a few “damns,” and one use each of “piss” and “shit.”
Violence: Troy and his son threaten to become violent, but never do.
For Which Audiences? Fences is a major play by an important American playwright and has been produced all over the world. The play is suitable for all audiences, including children ten and older; younger children should attend at a parent’s discretion.
Rating: If it were a movie, Fences would be rated PG-13.
WOMEN IN JEOPARDY
Synopsis: In Salt Lake City, divorced best friends Mary, Jo, and Liz share a life of book clubs, charity work, jobs, child-raising and the occasional glass of wine together. But when Liz gets involved with a new (and to her friends, creepy) boyfriend, Mary and Jo ask themselves if they’re just behaving out of jealousy, or if their friends’ new dentist beau might really be a homicidal maniac. Wildly mistaken comic misconceptions soon embroil Liz’s beautiful teenaged daughter Amanda, her slacker ex-boyfriend Trent and a plodding detective with the three friends in a series of encounters that end at a remote campsite in the red rocks of southern Utah, where a murder may, or may not, be about to take place.
Language: As Mary, Jo, and Liz talk to each other about every aspect of their lives, they are not above using occasional strong language.
This language includes the use of the words “Boobs” (as a nickname), “damn,” “crap,” “bitch,” “tits,” “hard-on,” “bad-ass,” “douchebag,” “bullshit,” and one use of “fuck.”
Smoking/Drinking: They all share an occasional glass of wine.
Sex: Liz talks to her friends about her sex life with her new boyfriend, and all three women discuss their love lives, or lack of one. Liz’s 19 year old daughter Amanda also joins in. The women in this play talk the way many women typically talk amongst themselves.
Violence: None, beyond the fact that the plot is set in motion when Liz’s dentist boyfriend’s dental hygienist goes missing, and her friends speculate that she was murdered by Liz’s boyfriend.
For Which Audiences? Women in Jeopardy is a comedy that has three strong, likeable women at its center, and it looks upon those women with warmth and affection even as it sometimes pokes fun at them. The occasional frank talk may be discomfiting to some audience members, and pre-teens should only attend at a parent’s discretion.
Rating: If a movie, Women In Jeopardy would be rated PG-13.
KING CHARLES III
Synopsis: King Charles III imagines an immediate future in which Queen Elizabeth has just died, and Prince Charles is about to ascend the throne. But when Charles takes a principled stand against Parliamentary legislation that would limit the freedom of the press, his position sets in motion palace intrigues involving his son and daughter-in-law, William and Kate, along with his younger son Harry and his new, commoner-girlfriend, Jess. Juxtaposing the modern mania for the royal family with a Shakespearan-like approach to writing a “future history play,” King Charles III takes a fascinating look at Britain’s current royal family.
Language: There is a very small amount of vulgar language in the play, including the use of one four-letter obscenity.
The language includes “bitches,” “Jesus,” “shit,” and three uses of “fucking,” (used as an exclamatory oath).
For Which Audiences? King Charles III is suitable for general audiences, although conservative patrons may be put off by the infrequent use of one obscenity. Student audiences are likely to be intrigued by the look behind the scenes at Britain’s royal family, and the debate on the limits of freedom-of-the press are compelling. Teenaged students should attend at a parent’s discretion; the play will be over the heads of most pre-teen audiences.
Rating: In subject matter and tone, King Charles III would probably be rated PG-13, although its infrequent use of a four letter obscenity warrants special consideration.
CONCERT VERSION of CHESS
Synopsis: In Bangok, Thailand at the height of the Cold War, an international chess match between Anatoly, the Russian Chess Champion, and Freddie, a brash American, is about to take place. As American and Russian spies swirl around the perimeter of the action, a dangerous love triangle involving Anatoly, Freddie, and Freddie’s chess second and former lover, Florence, threatens to upend the delicate balance of Cold War intrigues.
Language: There is a small amount of strong language, including both profanity and obscenities, enough to warrant an R rating.
The language includes “shit” and “bullshit,” (several times), “Goddamnit” and “Jesus Christ” (several times), “bastard,” bitch,” “son-of-a-bitch,” and several uses of “fuck/fucking.”
Smoking/Drinking: Several characters smoke.
Sex: Although there is a love triangle as a plot point, there is no sex.
For Which Audiences: Chess, with music by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulaeus of ABBA and lyrics by Tim Rice, is one of the most famous “Broadway failures” of the last thirty years. The show spawned a top forty pop hit, “One Night in Bangkok.” However, the small amount of strong language could be discomfiting to conservative audience members, and make the show inappropriate for pre-teens. Teenagers should attend at a parent’s discretion.