Sir Tim criticises "moronic" Joseph "Israel" lyric change

"Children of Israel" changed to "Children of Kindness" by "politically correct" teachers



Sir Tim Rice has criticised the “moronic” decision to change the lyrics to a song from the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat - to avoid mentioning the word “Israel”.

The song,  Close Every Door – sung by Joseph from behind prison bars – was due to be performed by pupils from a group of schools in New Zealand.

It includes the lyrics: "Children of Israel are never alone [...] for we have been promised a land of our own" – but without seeking any permission for alterations a festival coordinator changed the start of the line to “Children of Kindness….”.

Speaking to an audience at the Chalke Valley History Festival, in Salisbury, Sir Tim said he had found out about the change via Twitter.

He said: "They were doing the Joseph songs and they changed Close Every Door, the last line 'Children of Israel are never alone', they changed it to 'children of kindness are never alone', which was obviously being politically correct or something.

"[They] interpreted the song completely wrongly, and what a rotten thing. And I only heard about it because someone tweeted me and said 'did you approve this change?

"I said I did not approve it and I hadn't heard about it. It was quite a big thing, it was for all schools in the Wellington area in New Zealand."

Sir Tim, who collaborated with Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber on the musical, said he considered the lyric change to be "bonkers" and was an attempt to be "politically correct".

He added: "We came down on them like a ton of bricks and they said ‘we wanted to make it easier for the children’. I thought the point of teaching was to teach children to cope with hard things in life. This was moronic."

He added: "I mean Joseph is an innocent story straight from the Bible and these people in New Zealand thought we were making statements about Israel and Palestine - bonkers." 

The local council in the area later apologised saying a "community coordinator made an error in judgment", and the songs would be performed in their original versions in the show. 

The coordinator of the New Zealand arts festival where the song will be performed in September said: “Action has been taken over the weekend to ensure that the original song words are all reinstated, with immediate effect.”


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