Gay kiss in anti-bullying musical sparks walkout at US high school

Group of Connecticut students objected to two male actors kissing on stage during visiting production of Zanna, Don’t!

A musical shown in Connecticut high schools as part of an anti-bullyingcampaign has sparked walkouts after two male cast members kissed on stage.
CBS Connecticut reports that students at Hartford High School left a visiting production of Zanna, Don’t! on 14 October, objecting to its depiction of homosexuality on stage. The musical is set in a school in which gay relationships are openly accepted, but heterosexual relationships take place more covertly.
Principal Adam Johnson told CBS: “There was a public walkout by a bunch of students … mostly male. It was visually evident – due to the jerseys the team was wearing – that a lot of football players got up and walked out. It was almost a symbolic kind of thing.”
Johnson said that students had been informed of the musical’s content. After concerns were raised by students, parents and a teacher at the school, Johnson took the decision not to remove the kiss. Some students decided not to attend the performance; others were excused from school by their parents.
Defending the decision, Johnson continued: “We have to teach students how to respect and honour each other. They need to learn about the diversity of the world and respecting the rights of all people.”
Written by Tim Acito and Alexander Dinelaris, Zanna, Don’t! had an initial Off-Broadway try-out run in 2002 at the Rodney Kirk theatre, before returning for a three-month run at the John Houseman theatre the following year. The original production won a GLAAD award, which aim to honour inclusive portrayals of the LGBT community in art and media. A London production premiered at The Space in the Isle of Dogs in 2009, before transferring to another fringe theatre, Upstairs at the Gatehouse.
The current production, which features a cast of high school and college students, has been produced through Leadership Greater Hartford’s Quest programme and the LGBT youth organisation True Colors.

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