P.R. Theater Bans ‘Naked Boys Singing’

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P.R. Theater Bans ‘Naked Boys Singing’
Dateline: SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico

“Naked Boys Singing” is moving to another venue in Puerto Rico’s capital following opposition which twice forced the cancellation of the show’ s debut at a city-run theater.

The musical will now debut on Friday at the private El Josco theater in the Santurce section of San Juan, producer Raymond Gerena said Sunday.

He called City Hall’s refusal to stage the production at Tapia Theater in historic Old San Juan “a black page in Puerto Rican theater and a tragic precedent for democracy.” A protest of actors, producers and other entertainers has been scheduled for Monday outside City Hall.

Written by Robert Schrock and in its fifth year at Actors Playhouse in New York’s Greenwich Village, the Spanish version of the show features eight nude men singing and dancing to Spanish-Caribbean beats like salsa and plena.

The production has been shown in the United States, Italy, Norway, Australia, Britain, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Spain and Argentina. A showing had never been canceled before, although there were protests in Massachusetts, producers said.

Producers have estimated losses at $100,000. Despite Sunday’s announcement, producers vowed to take the matter to court in the name of the right to free artistic expression.

Tapia Theater’s Board members said they were concerned the show could compromise the theater’s “good name and prestige.”