University of Canterbury Drama Club Cancels Chaplin: The Musical Over Concerns About His Life as a Scandalous Wife

Charlie Chaplin, which was deemed unsuitable for a college theater company production. Photo / Provided

A week after enthusiastically announcing Chaplin: The Musical as its spring show, the University of Canterbury Musical Theater Society (MUSOC) canceled the scheduled performance after concerns were raised about its scandalous past.

Announcing that The Addams Family Musical will replace Chaplin, the company said on Facebook that some members raised concerns about the selected show.

“Club members have raised concerns regarding the Spring 2021 Selected Show Chaplin: The Musical, regarding the predatory and inappropriate conduct of Charlie Chaplin during his life and career,” a- he declared.

“Although documented by credible sources, this is something that we, as an executive, were unaware of when selecting this show. After a meeting and discussion with the production team, we have made the decision to change our Spring 2021 show from Chaplin: The Musical. to the Addams Family Musical.”

The decision did not go down well with some.

One student felt that this was a case where “cancellation culture went too far”.

“The cancel culture at the University of Canterbury is now so extreme that we cannot put on a play on Chaplin,” he said.

“A few frail, but loud, students complained that Charlie Chaplin was a womanizer so they ‘didn’t feel safe’ in a room over him.

“Seriously. Cancel culture has gone too far.”

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Charlie Chaplin was an English comic actor and filmmaker who rose to fame in the silent film era, and his career spanned over 75 years.

Born in 1889, his childhood was marked by poverty and hardship and began performing at an early age, touring concert halls before later working as a stage actor and comedian.

But in the 1940s controversy surrounded Chaplin and his popularity quickly waned after the press and public found his involvement in a paternity lawsuit and marriages to much younger women scandalous.

“We believe it is paramount that as a club we take the concerns of our members seriously, and we would never want anyone to feel uncomfortable or have their complaints ignored,” the club said. company.

“We thank those who provided us with this information and apologize for this sudden and unexpected change.”

The company has been contacted for further comment.

According to its initial announcement, the play was to be based on the real-life story of Chaplin, from his first performance as a child in 19th-century London to his tearful acceptance of an honorary Academy Award in 1972.

The play would have explored how Chaplin’s childhood and inner insecurities shaped him and also created his biggest problems.