Fall musical advertisement vandalized

Theater plans to channel emotions into performances


Grace Farley

Thespians painted the senior wall Nov. 3 to advertise the fall musical "9 to 5." The wall was repainted Nov. 8, after offensive slurs vandalized the wall.

Abby Intveld and Dani Orloff

Seeing the words “so gay” and “boo” spray painted over theater’s advertisement for “9 to 5 the Musical,” senior thespian president Nietzsche Deuel said she was disappointed at the immature vandalization.

“It wasn’t just graffiti, it was directed at our show,” Deuel said. “It was incredibly disappointing that somebody would deface the wall like that because we put so much work into the show, and honestly, we deserved better than that.”

Deuel said thespians painted the senior wall to publicize the fall musical Nov. 3. According to Deuel, homophobic statements were found written on the wall Nov. 8, defacing the advertisement.

Thespian KJ Preston Pepperall said cast and crew members of the fall musical were all affected by the act of vandalization.    

“When we all began to hear about the incident it was pretty disheartening, especially since a lot of us (in theater) are part of the LGBT community. Some kids may or may not be out yet,” Pepperall said. “Most of us were really upset for ourselves, or for our friends or some combination of that.”

According to theater director Jodi Hatzenbeller, the disrespectful statements were quickly removed from the wall.     

“One of our (Grade Level Coordinators) Greg Whittle volunteered to repaint it for us immediately to make sure that the offensive wording was gone and he still managed to maintain the creative idea of what our students had painted just last Saturday,” Hatzenbeller said.

According to Pepperall, the administrative response helped students move forward from the incident.   

“We were upset about it for awhile and very angry, but we’re super grateful for the administration for covering it up for us that quickly,” Pepperall said.

Deuel said students involved in the production of the fall musical fear further acts of vandalization to the show.

“A lot of people are also scared that they might try to do something else to the show, and it’s not just about theater,” Deuel said. “Even if you feel that way about theater or our production, keep it to yourself because it’s so rude to express your opinions in that fashion, considering we worked super hard on it.”

According to Hatzenbeller, theater has never encountered an act of defacement like this in the past.   

“We have had somebody come in and vandalize set pieces. That happened to us last year,” Hatzenbeller said. “After tech day, somebody broke into the auditorium and broke part of our set and some of our equipment, but that was not necessarily directed at students and didn’t involve any sort of slur.”

Hatzenbeller said she plans to discuss the defacement with all members of theater before and after the musical.  

“We will address it, we will voice our frustrations and then we will channel that energy and frustration into our performances, because at this point that’s all we can do,” Hatzenbeller said. “We’ll maybe take some time after that to process further and have a bigger discussion about this and hopefully by then, the administration will have found out who did that.”

Pepperall said the cast and crew members unified for the final rehearsal before opening night Nov. 8.     

“I think that it was the best that we’d had, because we really stuck together,” Pepperall said. “Our director (Jodi) Hatzenbeller said to use it to our advantage, that people are talking about the show now. So as much hate was thrown at us, we turned it around and are using to our advantage.”

The administration was unavailable for comment at the time of publication. The story will be updated when more information is available.