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Connecticut High School Cancels Spring Production of Musical Rent

Spring will not be the season of love for Trumbull High School thespians. logo
Original Rent Broadway cast members Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal.
(© Joan Marcus)

Connecticut's Trumbull High School has become the latest example in a long line of stories of censorship in school drama departments. A foul language-sanitized school edition of Jonathan Larson's musical Rent, which deals with timely social issues such as drug use, gay rights, HIV, and sexuality, had been slated for the spring until the school's new principal, Marc Guarino, canceled the production.

Larissa Mark, president of the school's Thespian Society, launched a "Trumbull for Rent" page on Facebook while others circulated a petition to rally support for the production. They argue that the musical touches on issues that have become mainstream and no longer have the taboo they once did, pointing to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Connecticut in 2008. Guarino responded to these petitions via a letter that was read at a Board of Education meeting, claiming he would not be opposed to a production of Rent if given more time to prepare.

The New York Times notes that a number of high schools have presented the modified school edition of Rent over the past few years, though several high schools have similarly submitted to parental and administrative objections to its provocative content, resulting in canceled productions in California, Texas, and West Virginia.


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