HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Places » U.S. » Maryland (Group) » The show goes on: Cancele...

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 08:53 AM

The show goes on: Canceled school musical gets another chance

The show goes on: Canceled school musical gets another chance

By Donna St. George, Reporter covering education
April 24 at 6:57 PM

School officials in suburban Maryland on Wednesday backed off a decision to cancel a school musical that they had deemed inappropriate for middle school, saying performances could go on with a warning to audiences about mature content. ... The reversal came a day after a tense meeting where school officials faced questions about whether gay characters in a student production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at Hyattsville Middle School led to the abrupt decision to abandon the show.

They had given little explanation for the mid-April decision, just before schools closed for spring break. As word of the cancellation had spread, parents grew concerned about the reason for the move, with discussions on social media and among students focusing on the presence of gay characters. ... “This is Hyattsville, Maryland, in 2019, and I can’t believe that is a reason,” said Elizabeth Tornquist, whose daughter was rehearsing for the show in the Prince George’s County school.

In a letter home to families Wednesday, school officials repeated their contention that their halting of the show had nothing to do with a same-sex couple that is part of the musical. ... “Any commentary that suggests the play was postponed due to the inclusion of gay characters is inaccurate and does not reflect the views of Hyattsville Middle School or Prince George’s County Public Schools,” Principal Thornton Boone wrote.

Boone said there are no plans to remove gay characters or references from the production and credited those at the Tuesday meeting for a “thoughtful dialogue” that led to a compromise keeping the focus on “young performers and families who invested considerable time, enthusiasm and expense in this production.” ... The unanswered question surrounding the show had in recent days led to an online petition and support for the musical from actors including Jesse Tyler Ferguson, a star in the sitcom “Modern Family” and a cast member in the Broadway production of “Spelling Bee.” ... “As one of the original ‘Gay Dads’ in Spelling Bee & a hopeful future Gay Dad I am so annoyed by this,” he tweeted. “Pull it together Maryland Middle School. I’m sure there are gay students in your school. Think about how this is impacting them. What a disappointment.”

Donna St. George writes about education for The Washington Post, where she has been a reporter since 1998. She previously worked at the Philadelphia Inquirer and the New York Times. Follow https://twitter.com/donnastgeorge

0 replies, 514 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Reply to this thread