CHERRY HILL — Controversy over a South Jersey high school decision to perform a student version of a racially charged musical is drawing attention on Broadway.

Brian Stokes Mitchell, star of the original Broadway production of “Ragtime,” says he is willing to meet with school officials to discuss why he believes the show should be presented intact — racial slurs and all.

“See this show, acknowledge the language, but don’t censor it. This show results in catharsis because of what it says, and what the audience of all kinds of people experience together,” Mitchell said in an interview with Howard Sherman, director of the Arts Integrity Initiative at the New School for Drama in New York.

Sherman told New Jersey 101.5 that if the school board goes through with its plan to eliminate “offensive language” from the script it could endanger the presentation of the musical.

“Any copyrighted scripts cannot be altered without the authors or the licensing house,” Sherman said.”According to copyright law and the licensing agreement that the school signs, you may not alter a text without approval. It’s not a question of the scale of alterations or the reason for the alterations.”

Cherry Hill has licensed use of a School Edition for their performance in March, according to spokeswoman Barbara Wilson, one of three versions available from Music Theatre Internatonal (MTI). A description of the version on MTI’s website said that the “vocal arrangements are slightly rearranged for student voices” but does not specify anything about the script. ”

MTI president Drew Cohen told the Phialdelphia Inquirer in an email that it “does not typically grant permission to change the “Ragtime” script.”

Read More: Black ‘Ragtime’ star says NJ high school shouldn’t censor student play

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