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‘Homophobia’ and ‘anti-Semitism’: playwright condemns cancellation of high school musical with lesbian sexual encounter

A Jacksonville, Florida, high school cancelled a play written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright due to overtly sexual content in the play’s script, according to the Florida Standard. The play’s author, Paula Vogel, called the cancellation a “perfect collision between homophobia” and “Anti-Semitism.”

The Douglas Anderson School of the Arts had planned to run a performance of the play called “Indecent.” The musical is in reference to a controversial play from the early 1900s called “God of Vengeance.” Upon its release, “The cast and producers were found guilty of performing ‘immoral’ drama on the Broadway stage,” according to a review of the play’s content.

The play involves a Jewish brothel owner whose daughter falls in love with one of the resident prostitutes, a rather controversial plot for the time.

“A closer review of the mature content of ‘Indecent’ led us to the conclusion that [a different play] is better suited for a school production,” the school’s principle wrote in an email to parents.

In a statement to the Florida Standard, a spokesperson for the school district said the musical “contains adult sexual dialog that is inappropriate for student cast members and student audiences. It’s that simple.”

A scene from the play involves two women standing in the rain before retreating into a brothel and then getting into a bed:

“You let me wash your breasts in the rain,” the play reads.

“Your breasts are so pale. So Soft,” it continues.

“I want you to take me.”

“I want to taste you.”

The characters, who would be played by high school students, kiss and then discuss sharing a bed for the night.

Screen shot of a scene from the musical “Indecent”Image Courtesy The Florida Standard

Author Paula Vogel spoke out on Twitter, calling the cancellation homophobic and anti-Semitic, asking, “What part of your decision is from homophobia when you censored your high school students performing in INDECENT? What part is anti-semitism? I fear the 2nd is also possible.”

Vogel also reportedly told Florida outlet Action News Jax, “I do think this is the perfect collision between homophobia, Anti-Semitism and the notion we police our students in a move towards a totalitarianism.”

The playwright also asked followers to write to the school board regarding the cancellation.

One of the students alleged to be in the play posted a TikTok video to express her disappointment, with a caption that read “Jewish, Queer, young voices will not be silenced and censored.”

The student blamed Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law as the basis for the halting of the musical and called the cancellation “ironic” while appearing on a local newscast.

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