Catawba County school cancels play because two male characters “fall” in love

While same-sex couples finally won the right to marry last week in North Carolina, a Catawba County school decided to cancel a student theater club’s production of the romantic comedy Almost, Maine, which has a scene in which two male characters fall in love.

Principal Rob Bliss of Maiden High School issued a statement on the matter. From WSOC:

“Our faculty and staff are still in review of potential performances to be conducted by our students this fall. At this time, no final decision has been made regarding whether and what drama performances are to be presented this fall. In regards to the request for students to perform the play “Almost Maine,” careful review and consideration was given to the contents of this play. The play contained sexually-explicit overtones and multiple sexual innuendos that are not aligned with our mission and educational objectives.

“As principal of Maiden High School, I have an obligation to ensure that all material, including drama performances is appropriate and educationally sound for students of all ages.”

However, Conner Baker, a junior and the student director for Main Street Players, the school’s theater club, told ThinkProgess that both Bliss and Catawba County Schools Superintendent Dan Brigman had previously given permission for the production. ThinkProgress reports:

Baker told ThinkProgress that the Players had sought approval for Almost, Maine earlier in the school year, receiving it from both Principal Bliss and Catawba County Schools Superintendent Dan Brigman. Brigman and Bliss stipulated, however, that every student wishing to audition or assist with the production must receive parental permission to do so. The club then spent over $300 to reserve the rights and rent the scripts for the show, and followed through on this requirement. Only one student was prevented from auditioning by the permission-slip process. Baker said that the show had already been cast and was beginning rehearsals when the production was canceled last Thursday. She did not personally know who in the community objected to the play’s content.

An online petition started by the students in hopes of convincing the school to let the show go on has already garnered over 1000 signatures.

Is the scene involving the two male characters falling in love inappropriate? Here’s a clip from youtube of the play performed by a school in Florida:


  1. laura rankin

    October 16, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Face reality Catawba county. Our GLBT family & friends are everywhere. We love them & expect you to treat them as equal citizens. Trying to silence same sex relationships is sadly pathetic & out of step with how society is moving!!! Bigotry is not a family value.

  2. Kelly Lovelace

    October 16, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Sounds like all proper channels were followed and kids had permission. The principal should do the right thing and let the kids have the show. I would assume that attendance is optional so what is the big deal. Acknowledging that same sex couples exist in a play is perfectly fine for high school students. If they were not going to be allowed to produce the play, then that should have been decided before they paid for the rights and held auditions. Would the objections be the same if it had involved heterosexual relationships?

  3. Vlad Ulyanov

    October 17, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Kelly Lovelace asks if the objections would be the same if it had involved heterosexual relationships. This is an extremely odd question. The play in question DOES involve heterosexual relationships. There is no mention in the Principal’s statement of the sexual orientation of any of the play’s roles. As far as “all the proper channels” being followed and permission being granted, the only evidence submitted of that is a claim made by a disgruntled teenager and it stands in direct conflict with the Principal’s statement.

    I take the Principal at his word. It is extremely inadvisable to take the a teenager at his word even when the teenager has no strong incentive to lie.

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