This week, Trumbull took a star turn in the spotlight usually reserved for small towns filled with small-minded people, many many miles from Broadway.
But the principal of Trumbull High School really stepped in it when he decreed that “Rent” — the Pulitzer Prize-winning, long-running hit musical — would not be allowed as the Thespian Society’s spring production.
A few days later, Trumbull’s Board of Education backed him up. They too believe that some of the show’s plot elements — homosexuality, drug use, AIDS — are inappropriate for high school students.
Showing far more wisdom and insight than their elders — and plenty of restraint — an enormous number of Trumbull students disagreed. They pointed out that sex and drugs are part of their reality. They talked respectfully about the importance of artistic freedom. And they started a Facebook page that garnered thousands of pledges of support.
The tempest in Trumbull stands in stark contrast to the high school theater scene in Westport, just a few miles away. In recent years, Staples has produced “controversial” — aka “real” — shows like “The Laramie Project” and “Cabaret.” Nearly 20 years ago, they staged “Falsettos.”
And in 2010, Players’ summer production was “Rent.”
Westport points with pride to Players — and rightly so. In weeks like this, we should be proud too of our administrators and Board of Education. Not for “allowing” Players to do such important theater — that’s something every educator should encourage — but for never even causing anyone here to think it could possibly be an issue.