How Not To Cancel Your High School Musical

December 4th, 2013 § 43 comments

rent logoIn the immediate wake of announcing to the Trumbull High School Thespian Society that he was canceling the planned spring production of Rent, Principal Marc Guarino spent almost an hour talking to the students about his decision, speaking of “challenging issues” with the play and saying it wasn’t “the right time.”  These nebulous explanations didn’t seem to satisfy the students or many of their parents.  Two days later, the principal let it be known that he was going to have further conversations on the topic, suggesting there might still be the opportunity for the Tony Awarded and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical to play this spring.

Well the hammer dropped last night, only two working days later, given the Thanksgiving holiday. At a meeting of the Trumbull Board of Education, a letter from Mr. Guarino was read reaffirming his decision to terminate the production. Yes, that’s right – a letter was read. Principal Guarino wasn’t present at the meeting to make his position known, or to respond in any way to the comments and questions of parents in attendance.

Trumbull High School

Trumbull High School

As the first-year principal of a school in a new system (he was previously an assistant principal in Guilford CT), Mr. Guarino has adopted a stonewalling stance. He has not responded to inquiries from me or from any member of the media, including major national outlets. What at first seemed like it might become a valuable dialogue about art, educator’s responsibilities and important themes that run from Jonathan Larson’s 1996 musical right through the present day, has turned into the cone of silence. In the course of a little over a week, Mr. Guarino has transformed himself from educator to autocrat.  That’s a real shame.

Neither Guarino nor the system’s superintendent’s office are willing to even release the text of the letter that was read at the board of education meeting last night. Obviously by dragging things out, he makes it utterly impossible for Rent to go forward, even though his letter will eventually (presumably) be released when the minutes of last night’s meeting are approved and made public.  But make no mistake about it, his actions have poisoned the atmosphere at his school and fostered a somewhat heated dialogue on the Facebook group Keep Trumbull Real. The issue will not die.

In the absence of official comment, I can only respond to what I’ve heard and read from others. As a result, I have many questions.

  • Why did Principal Guarino meet on Tuesday afternoon with the drama director and principal of a nearby high school which has already successfully produced Rent, if there was presumably already a letter to be read at the Board of Education meeting hours later? Was that meeting for show, a pretend stab at looking for a positive solution?
  • In speaking about the “issues” of Rent, what exactly troubles Principal Guarino? Is it the mere mention of AIDS & HIV, which have been sad facts of life since before the Trumbull students were born? Is the mention of drugs, which are so prevalent in both our society and our entertainment that one of the most acclaimed TV shows in recent years is about a high school teacher turned meth kingpin? Surely Mr. Guarino can’t think of gay, lesbians and transgender people as lesser citizens. Besides being discriminatory, that retrograde thinking can’t be countenanced in anyone in an educational position. So exactly what’s the problem here?
  • Mr. Guarino reportedly expressed the feeling that there was not adequate time to prepare the appropriate contextual activities to prepare students and the community for the show. But beyond asking the drama teacher what she would do, did he reach out to anyone for the study guides and lesson plans that already exist at the many high schools that have already done the show? Or did he just foist blame onto a 17-year veteran of Trumbull High for not having one that met his undefined standards? There’s so much support that could be brought to bear if only Mr. Guarino wished to try.
  • Could there have been better communication between the drama director Jessica Spillane and Principal Guarino? Yes, it would seem so, and presumably appropriate but not draconian consultation will occur in the future. Yet why punish the students for this, since that’s who are really losing out – in particular the seniors.
  • Mr. Guarino, are you opposed to Rent, or are you afraid that others will be and, in your first year, are you moving it off the school’s stage to avoid controversy? If so, you’ve actually blown it, because now, unless you completely capitulate and let the show go forward, a portion of faculty and the community will always see you as someone who didn’t want to work for the best possible solution for the students, rather than for yourself. If, as I’ve been told, you’ve said that you’d be open to Rent at some point in the future, you might salvage the situation by immediately and unequivocally declaring your approval for Rent beginning next year, and leading the effort to create whatever education plan you feel is necessary for a production.
  • I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I was intrigued to learn that the mother of Trumbull’s First Selectman, Timothy Herbst, is the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Education. Neither of them have spoken publicly about this situation, but do I detect a bit of a dynasty? And is it at all relevant that in winning his third term, Mr. Herbst defeated Martha Jankovic-Mark – the mother of Thespian Society president Larissa Mark? What is the official stance of the Town of Trumbull on this dispute?

daphne newsweekOne person who was eager to talk about the situation in Trumbull is Daphne Rubin-Vega, a Tony nominee for creating the role of Mimi in the premiere of Rent, now the mother of a nine year old child. Asked about whether the content of Rent should be considered problematic for teens, she said, “In this day and age, I can’t think of anything more appropriate. It’s perfectly designed for high school.  To me, a loving awareness of the issues, sexuality, health, AIDS in particular is important. Rent is the perfect way to open up dialogue with young people. The cancellation of a production that people have been looking forward to is an obvious sign that our educators don’t want to take on the responsibility of educating our young. They’d have to answer questions and they don’t want the questions raised.” Vega said her child has already seen Rent and asked me if we should jump in a car right now and go up to Trumbull to lobby for the show. That may yet happen.

Does any official in Trumbull have to answer my questions? I guess not. I’m a former Connecticut resident, but I don’t live there or pay taxes there. However, if these questions are being asked by residents, by parents of students in the schools, by the students themselves, by the press, they deserve a coherent, public answer, and an answer that is neither reactionary or fearful. They deserve it not next week, not next month. Now.

*   *   *   *

Update December 4, 10 pm: Several hours after my post was made public, the statement from Principal Guarino was publicly released. I reproduce it here in its entirety, as posted on the Keep Trumbull Real Facebook page.

Dear Trumbull students, parents, and community members.
    My decision regarding the spring 2014 musical Rent: The School Edition was a difficult one and understandably caused much disappointment. I truly believe that successful and supportive schools are those that nurture strong relationships between the school and its community. Programs which foster student learning, growth and creativity require support from all aspects of the school and community. 
    With that said, I understand the responsibility I have as Principal of Trumbull High School to assure that our school is a safe, supportive environment for all students to learn, grow, and create. I first learned Trumbull High School was producing Rent: The School Edition not from the theatre arts department, but rather from a member of the community where I reside. Mrs. Spillane neither informed me nor consulted with me regarding the selection of Rent: The School Edition during the meetings we had in July and August. I appreciate that Rent is an important piece of American musical theatre. It presents educational opportunities for our students, staff, and community members to explore themes like acceptance, love, and responsibility. 
    Rent: The School Edition also presents challenges – both in content and execution. There is no evidence that an open communication, collaborative process – with either my predecessor or me—was considered to further explore Rent: The School Edition’s inherent opportunities and challenges. Open communication would– to the best of the school’s ability – provide a safe environment educationally, artistically, and emotionally for all of our students. Whether or not a formal approval process was required in the past, these opportunities and challenges should have been shared with me, especially given the fact that I am new to Trumbull High School and the Trumbull community.
    Since this decision has been made, I have met with students and have read their messages of support for this production. I have met with parents and received correspondences from community members and concerned individuals from around the country. The commonality I share with all these groups is the potential Rent: The School Edition has to promote our district’s mission statement and our school’s core values and beliefs. To date, I have not been presented with a plan to make this a reality for our students, staff, and community. Without a thought out plan, Rent: The School Edition will be a missed educational opportunity. Without proper planning, Rent: The School Edition has the potential to become a speech rather than a meaningful dialogue to capitalize on all significant themes it presents. I am committed to developing this plan to best meet the needs of all students.
    Trumbull is a wonderful community and our students continue to impress and amaze me. I am honored to serve as Principal and will always focus my efforts to support all aspects of student growth and development. I have already spoken with Dr. Cialfi, Dr. McGrath, Mrs. Spillane, and Ms. Bolan regarding my intentions to develop a collaborative process based on open communication to bring Rent: The School Edition to Trumbull High School. This process will require input and feedback from various groups. Most importantly, it will take time. Based on my research with various schools, this process will not meet the timeline for the spring of 2014. As I told our student leaders, Mrs. Spillane, Ms. Bolan, Dr. Cialfi, Dr. McGrath and some parents, I fully support Rent: The School Edition. We will bring Rent: The School Edition to Trumbull High School following a model that has proven to be successful at meeting our intended learning goals. 
Thank you.
Marc W. Guarino
Principal, THS

 

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§ 43 Responses to How Not To Cancel Your High School Musical"

  • CelticTee says:

    Welcome to Trumbull, CT – the Northeast’s answer to the “deep South.” Love the fact that you are intrigued by the Herbst – as First Selectman who defeated THS Thespian President Larissa Mark whose mother lost to Herbst in the First Selectman race – and whose own mother is Chairwoman of the Board of Education in Trumbull. The town has been taken over by extremists that are all either related or very closely connected. Censorship should not and will not be tolerated by many of the folks here and I believe this matter is far from over.

  • Anon says:

    I’m sorry, but the questions at the end of this article could not be more biased to trying to make Mr. Guarino look worse than he is. He obviously has no problems with LGBT, he simply recognizes that many people do. Even though people say that these are issues we need to deal with now, it would still trouble many people, especially children under the age of 10. While I disagree with his decision to cancel the show, I understand his reasoning. He was just trying to be rational. And as for him saying he doesn’t have time, as it turns out, he intends to give THS a theme of acceptance and equality next year. He was contemplating doing it this year, but there is not enough time, so next year will hold this theme with Rent being the apex of it. Which also reminds me, Rent is being performed next year. It’s been confirmed, it is going to happen. And your last question is, in all honesty, very ignorant. Such a conspiracy is too far fetched and basically impossible. Overall, I understand why people are upset about this play being cancelled, and I am too, but I believe you are blowing this far out of proportion. Also, as stated before, you seem incredibly biased towards a dislike of Mr. Guarino, but I very well may be wrong there.
    -A THS Junior Class Student

    • trumbullite says:

      Doesn’t it trouble children under 10 that the Wicked Witch of the West spends the entire Wizard of Oz trying to kill Dorothy? If being chased by a wicked witch doesn’t trouble children under 10, then I doubt homosexuality does. As for those adults who may be troubled by it, then they don’t have to see the show. But they have no right to censorship based on their bigoted views.

      • Anon says:

        With regard to the Wizard of Oz, children generally know that is all fake. It is designed to be portrayed as totally unrealistic, while HIV and drugs on the other hand are very real an may trouble children. However, I do completely agree that this play should not have been cancelled, and I agree that it is censorship. All I am saying is that I get the reasons for its cancellation, even if I don’t agree with them. But still, I stand by my point that this play would likely confuse and possibly even disturb very young children, not because of the homosexuality but because of the drug use and even HIV references.

    • Howard Sherman says:

      I don’t dislike Mr. Guarino, because I don’t know Mr. Guarino. I would very much like to, so we could discuss this and I, and more importantly the Trumbull community, could know his thoughts. I simply want to understand what specifically is objectionable.

      You are the only person to say that RENT “is being performed next year,” so I don’t believe it is a done deal; I’d love to read the evidence that I’m wrong on that point, but I believe your principal has only said he might allow it in the future.

      Finally, while I normally don’t engage in conversation with anonymous individuals, I should say that in the spirit of open discourse, tossing about words like ignorant from behind a shield of secrecy ill becomes anyone. You may dislike what I’ve written, and I respect your right to say so, but at least I publicly stand behind what I have to say.

      • Mary Joan Wright says:

        Mr. Sherman you have expressed so many peoples thoughts and stated them so eloquently. I have tried to listen, not judge but be curious about the administrations decision. I don’t agree with it. I have more concerns for the students that are struggling with their sexuality and their drug problems. and yes some may have HIV/AIDs and some my be hungry and trying to survive even here in Trumbull.
        They have just been told by their principal that who and what they are is controversial and to sensitive to be discussed this year.They need a plan in place. Well lets cancel health class. How are they supposed to express themselves and deal with their issues in an environment that clearly speaks from both sides of their mouths. Express yourselves as long as we say it is ok. It makes me sad. All of these kids, in this program, I have worked with through the years and so many more before them.They are mature, sophisticated, kind and respectful people. Many I have worked with have gone on to make the performing arts their lifes work. The arts help us to think about life issues. There is joy,sorrow, compassion, love,hate, fear and hope. Life is hard enough. The adults involved need to think about the bigger picture. The silent child, the confused child, the hurt child. These children need to see that they matter. It is their voices that you are stopping, not the actors, director and production staff. They are just trying to give them a voice. Please think about the messages you are sending them. Can they trust you, are they in a safe enough place to express themselves. Something is wrong.

    • falllover46 says:

      I applaud your youthful enthusiasm and loyalty to your school and administration. However, if you do not work in the school system, you have a very limited understanding of how and why things go on. As far as it being blown out of proportion – that’s what happens when one person in a position of authority makes a decision that has a direct impact on others (in this case the drama students/students at the school, teachers, parents, etc.) If people don’t agree with a decision, it is their right to speak up. Also, censorship is something we take very seriously in this country. I hope he does follow through with his intent to allow the play next year. Unfortunately his decision to cancel the play (this year), as well as have his statement for canceling the production read (knowing that this issue is so important to so many) has damaged his credibility. Take this as a lesson on what not to do regarding public relations. Always deal with problems in person, and don’t make a decision negatively impacting others unless you’re ready to take on the responsibility of dealing with the repercussions.

      • enness says:

        Whether or not this particular decision is defensible, censorship is something any responsible parent does. Let’s get that clear. Invoking the specter of censorship’ when what we’re talking about is someone in a position of authority with minors in his charge, is a bit silly.

    • mominCT124 says:

      Just because a show might not be appropriate for children under the age of 10 does not mean it should not be performed by high-school students. The question is not whether it’s appropriate for young children; the question is whether it’s appropriate for high-school students. Your principal appears to believe it is not. Your theater arts teacher appears to have a much higher opinion of the understanding and sensitivities of the kids in your school.

      In any case, I do not live in Trumbull but it seems to me that the majority of people are most upset with Mr. Guarino’s tactics (such as sending his letter to be read by someone else at the board of ed meeting). He has not fostered an open dialogue, instead choosing to act as an autocrat, and that’s not exactly endearing.

  • TrumbullMom says:

    Rent should be for everyone. If the high school cant do it, the kids at the elementary schools should definitely do it. You know, because they are living in the same society as the rest of us and the issues brought up in Rent are still relevant.

    And I definitely agree that this is all one big conspiracy brought up to bring Trumbull crashing to the ground. First they take away our play and the next thing you know we’ll be drinking poisoned tap water and our taxes will be up 4000% so that the Herbst family can fund the construction of a 10 million dollar mansion and have some extra spending money to boot. We have to stop this before it gets any further.

    And what about those poor seniors? They’re never going to have the opportunity to do Rent ever again, especially not the School Version (which everyone knows is the better version anyhow). And of course I’m assuming that THS is not going to have a play at all, correct? Colleges and universities simply cant offer theater to kids like high schools can. What a shame.

    I would talk about AIDS/HIV too, but I simply dont know what those are. It sure would be helpful if there was a play to inform me.

    • Anon says:

      I’m sorry but you’re idea about Herbst “taking over Trumbull” is troublingly ignorant. I’m not sure if you are being serious or not, but if you are, please consider what you just said. Personally, I fully support the show Rent and the students’ attempts to make the show go on. However, going so far as to say that it is a :conspiracy to bring Trumbull to the ground” is going incredibly overboard. I truthfully hope that was simply a statement of your anger, but if you were serious, please just stop where you are and go no further with it.

  • John Verderber says:

    Howard, this is wonderful. I would hope that my fellow members of the Dramatists Guild (and there are A LOT of them nationwide) will lend their support, not to mention (especially) the council of the Guild. I don’t find RENT to be a particularly wonderfully written show, but that’s not the point here. The point is that this principal is a backwards, bigoted coward. And in regards to his thinking that there wasn’t “adequate time” to prepare the community: Prepare them for what? Have they lived under a rock since the beginning of the AIDS crisis? As a theater writer, I am saddened by this. As a YOUNG theater writer, I am FURIOUS and saddened by this. Thank you for bringing this sad story to light.

    John Verderber

  • Michael Dentato says:

    BRAVO Howard!! So well said!!

  • Douglas Leland says:

    I say that we should organize another facility to present the “School Musical” in absentia…….I am more than willing to supply legwork and organizational skills. The silence by the Chair Person and Principal is despicable. Any chance of them regaining their integrity is futile. I think this episode is far from over….I am hoping.

  • falllover46 says:

    Unfortunately, this stonewalling is a common place thing in schools, which is exactly opposite of the climate that students should be learning in – I teach, so I see this on a daily basis. Input is just not considered from anyone if it doesn’t totally agree with someone’s agenda. Sadly, it’s not about what’s best for the kids anymore, but what is better for the administrator’s PR, though I doubt if he thought his decision through he would have shut this down. Think he’s in for quite a PR lesson!

  • Mary Beth Thornton says:

    Mr. Sherman, a simple ‘thank you’ for expressing the thoughts of so many people in our town, adults and high school students alike. Our theater program and it’s leadership have been exceptional over the years. The town recently approved a full renovation of our high school that included a dramatic improvement to our auditorium, which only enhances the talent and hard work that our students and teachers bring to the table. Please do visit and experience this firsthand, we are a great town that has seen better days. Let’s support the children of Trumbull and a school system that supports the arts.

  • J. Howard says:

    Thank you, Mr. Sherman. Here we have Wilton HS and others all over again. Please, everyone, keep the pressure on these dolts. One of the best productions of Rent I have ever seen was done several summers ago by the Staples Players in Westport. The high school attendees truly were able to comprehend and appreciate the material. Art scares ‘some’ administrators. As you point out, he wants to play it ‘safe’. Well he’s blown THAT tactic. Perhaps it’s time for some member of the professional community to do what Fairfield Theater Company did for Wilton: offer the space and support for students to do the show independently.

  • DisguteD says:

    He should be fired!! This is not the kind of narrow minded, obviously ,homophobic person you want as principal of a high school. I am embarrassed to say I live in Trumbull and my children are all grown and out of the school system for years!!
    FIRE HIM!!!

    • Jeffrey Alan Wright says:

      Fired?

      Why is it that if someone disagrees with your particular thought process the immediate conclusion is that they are conspiratorial narrow minded bigots?

      Seems to me that there are valid issues and concerns on both sides of this debate of which neither side should be subject to the ” narrow minded ” vitriol I’ve seen expressed here and on other sites.

      Perhaps if this idea was presented as a collaborative effort in earlier meetings with the school administration this entire episode could have been avoided. That being said it appears within the context of Mr. Guarino’s letter that he is committed to bringing the play to the school arena in the following year.

      Let the man do his job.

      • mominCT124 says:

        It “appears” he’s committed to bringing the play back next year? He doesn’t say he is, though, does he? I think you should be a bit more understanding of the outrage on the part of the community, Jeffrey, and especially of the students. This is clearly a version of the play that was adapted for high-school students to perform and the theater arts teacher used her professional judgment (and familiarity with the students in the school) in choosing it. Perhaps she should have anticipated a less-than-supportive response from the new principal, but that doesn’t excuse the ham-fisted way in which he has reacted.

      • THS Educator says:

        This is not an issue about a collaborative effort. The procurement of Rent occurred during last school year. THS must buy the rights to do the play. It was posted on the school website in August and announced all during the fall on daily announcements. This was not a fault of the THS Theater Department nor the faculty leaders of this choice. In Trumbull there has never been a “policy” regarding the musical choice or the content. The school performed Sweet Charity years ago. Apparently Prostitution and Sex are not issues that are “sensitive” to the community. It is a shame that an administrator who claimed to have students’ best interests at heart is not listening to the over 1500 signatures of students (collected over a 24 hour period) out of 2200 students as a voice that the students want this play. They need this play. Another shame is that the principal decided to name the teachers involved in a public document. This is appalling and as a THS educator, I am disappointed in the principal’s decision and the “timing” of the decision.

    • Nicole Elizabeth says:

      TIME OUT

      I am a devoted lifelong thespian who majored in theatre in college and have continued to teach young theatre programs in the ten years since graduation, but as much as I support the arts, I have to say you are WAYYY over the line.

      He didn’t say “You can’t do Rent because I hate gays.” Simply because he thinks a production is inappropriate for the age group does not make him an “obvious homophobe” who should be fired! Maybe he objects to the sex (though I assume the school version leaves out songs like “Contact”) or the references to dildos, cunnilingus, BDSM, casual sex, screwing someone you’ve just met, etc. Or maybe he has a problem with the drugs use and drug themes of the play, like the pro-marijuana stance or the song two characters sing as they fall in love while searching for a missing baggie of cocaine. Or, hey, maybe he’s just plain offended by musicals in which people are considered heroes for killing small yippie dogs in exchange for large sums of money. You don’t know.

      The reason a school version even exists is because, like many other musicals (Avenue Q, Spelling Bee, etc) there is content in the play that most would deem inappropriate for kids/teens. I have not read or seen the edited-for-schools version and would certainly NOT be against seeing high schoolers perform it, BUT for you to assume that he is a homophobe merely because he has cancelled the play for the spring (though is willing to consider it for the following year!) is unfair, and screams “PERSONAL BIAS” even louder than his current position does.

  • vonlmo says:

    More likely, Mr Guarino would approve a HS Edition of “My Pet Goat”.

  • Suki says:

    Wow! So, blame it on the theatre teacher. Of course, why would the principal trust a professional to decide which play to produce? He clearly has complete autonomy (or is trying to at least) over the school. I hope parents and students demand this play be put back on the spring schedule. And I would hope the BOE wouldn’t let this 1st year principal dictate what is “right and wrong” for his school. Sounds like he is afraid of these social issues in the play, and refuses to have a dialogue…. unless of course the dialogue is agreeing with him.

  • mominCT124 says:

    It is terribly inappropriate and unprofessional for him to (1) have this letter read in his absence, and (2) publicly blame the theater arts teacher. I find it odd, too, how often he refers to the musical as “Rent: The School Edition” while not acknowledging that this is a version of the show that has been specifically adapted for high-school students to perform. While I do understand on some level why he would have concerns about developing/providing accompanying educational plans that would help students grapple with the issues presented in the show, he has proceeded in an autocratic way, thereby alienating the students and their families as well as many supporters of the arts in the community. Not exactly an auspicious beginning for a new principal.

    • enness says:

      I find it odd, too, how often he refers to the musical as “Rent: The School Edition” while not acknowledging that this is a version of the show that has been specifically adapted for high-school students to perform.”

      I’m sorry, but how is that not self-explanatory? If it isn’t, a simple web search – such as the one I did to try to see exactly what the difference was – should clear it up.

      • mominCT124 says:

        enness, are you familiar with the meaning of the word “acknowledge”? The point I was making was that Guarino did not acknowledge that this version of the show was specifically edited to make it appropriate for high-school students to perform. The point I was NOT making was that I didn’t understand that, myself.

        • enness says:

          I was an AP student. I know perfectly well what the word means, thanks. I don’t see why it is not self-evident that “School Edition” is a special rendition for use in schools.

          Furthermore, my understanding is that the edits include some language, overt references to drug abuse, PDA, and one full song — not plot or characters being fundamentally changed.

          • mominCT124 says:

            Omigosh, really? You were an AP student? How impressive! And yet you still don’t understand what I’m saying. Further proof that our educational system is utterly failing.

  • Nicole Elizabeth says:

    I cannot for the life of me understand why ANYONE is surprised by this decision. A few years ago I was the drama director at a high school in Eastern CT where they insisted we edit out any curse words, violence, or sexual references from SHAKESPEARE’S plays, including Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet. While I tried to be accommodating, I refused to take the “damn” out of Lady Macbeth’s “out damn spot.” In a state and country in which classics like Romeo & Juliet are being rewritten (to about a second grade level) and extremely edited for content, WHY is anyone at all even remotely shocked that this school’s principal has reservations about Rent?

  • EducatorBX says:

    I think Principal Guarino just lost the respect of educators, parents, students, and community members from around the state. As an educator, I would never want to work in a school with such an ignorant leader. “Rent: The School Edition has the potential to become a speech rather than a meaningful dialogue to capitalize on all significant themes it presents.” What the hell does that even mean? Simply watching Rent without having every little concept explained in a politically correct way will tell kids to be gay? To get AIDS? As a teacher, I’m embarassed for him. If I were a student, I would be insulted that this man thinks so low of his student body that he’d consider them too immature or incapable of digesting what would hardly be considered a controversial production by today’s standards. Seems like your first year should be your last, sir. Get some common sense and try again somewhere else.

  • Petra says:

    Well then, how about Kinky Boots?

  • Michelle Deutsch says:

    I don’t know who this new principal is, but Mrs. Spillane was one of my favorite teachers when I was at THS many years ago.. I’m sure she wasn’t meaning any harm! I was in “The Music Man” and “42nd Street” during my time at THS, and they are classics of course.. but hey, “The Music Man” is about gambling in the pool hall and whatnot.. every story has something ‘controversial’ about it I suppose. I think THS would be more liberal and accept something like Rent though – it would probably make more of an impact on people than stuff like “The Music Man” and I think that could be a good thing!

  • BBUSA! says:

    Shame on this narrow minded administrator. The show that would have been produced would have been appropriate for all. Clearly Howard Sherman has his own agenda, that is not with the majority of most Trumbull and CT citizens. Maybe with his conservative view points he would be better off being a principal in a school in the Bible Belt. I see a short stay in Trumbull.

  • Student says:

    Our principle is trying to say there not enough time. The kids in the production learned the same amount of line ,costumes etc, for the play last year, what makes you think they won’t do it again this year? Or am I mistaken does principle Guarino think the words sex, gay, bisexual , AIDS, STD are harder to say? Its ridiculous were all 15-18 years old, I think we can handle big words like that, were not scared anymore, were all educated and understand those terms. My 10 year old brother knows more about AIDS and STDs then I ever did. That has to tell you something right there. The fact that our principle doesn’t let us perform something with these types of issues is him saying he doesn’t believe in them. This isn’t his play its ours. What next THS we won’t be able to read Huck Finn because it has the “N” word. If your not aware I think all the giggles and awkwardness stopped about that in third grade. We all know about it. I understand that its part of the world. I Know its wrong, but id rather know about it then laugh. People these days really get to me. Make a statement Guarino, let these kids show you an amazing performance .

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