Emails procured through Pennsylvania’s “Right To Know” law confirm that South Williamsport Jr/Sr High School cancelled a production of Monty Python’s Spamalot because it included a same-sex wedding, reports Think Progress.
The uncovered emails show that despite the school’s attempt to claim otherwise, the only justification for the cancellation given by Principal Jesse Smith was the play’s “homosexual themes.”
Records also prove that contrary to claims made by school district Superintendent Mark Stamm that the musical had not actually been canceled because it was only “under consideration,” Principal Smith had already signed a check for nearly $2,000 to order the licensing rights for the play last May.
In emails sent last June, Smith said that he was concerned about “a gay wedding being performed.” Musical director Dawn Burch replied, “I am fully aware of their place in the script and am not certain what offense they create,” noting that marriage equality had recently arrived in Pennsylvania.
Smith then explained that he was “not comfortable with Spamalot and its homosexual themes” because “this type of material [would make] it very hard” for families to attend. He added that he did not “want students to have to choose between their own personal beliefs and whether or not to take part in a production.”
When Burch wrote to Stamm that she found it “extremely disappointing that homosexuality would be the basis of not approving a show,” noting that “this is how we raise children to be haters,” the superintendent replied that he was familiar with Smith’s objections and stood by them.
Last year, a high school in Ottumwa, Iowa said that students could not perform The Laramie Project, Moisés Kaufman's play about the hate crime murder of gay Wyoming teen Matthew Shepard, because it is "too adult."
Watch South Williamsport Area School Board President John Engel, Jr., address a July 3 press conference on the controversy over the cancellation of the play, AFTER THE JUMP...