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Rent, Laramie Project Spark Controversy in Nevada High School


A high school performance of two iconic theatrical productions with gay themes is drawing the ire of some parents -- this time in suburban Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that a group called Concerned Parents of Green Valley High in Henderson, Nev., has filed a lawsuit to halt school productions of The Laramie Project, scheduled to be performed November 12-14, and Rent, slated for a run early next year.

The parents' group objects to students playing gay characters and contends that the productions violate the school's policy against "R-rated" material.

Commenting on the suit, Green Valley High School principal Jeff Horn said he "doesn't have control in a court situation if a judge decides to stop the play[s]."

"But personally I have no plans to cancel them," Horn told The Advocate.

Horn said the school decided to stage Moises Kaufman's The Laramie Projectin conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the play's premiere. As for a musical, Green Valley High was being considered to stage a high school version of a new, unnamed Disney production, but the production fell through. Horn then reviewed Rent: School Edition -- an edited version of the musical that deletes coarse language and one sexually explicit song -- and deemed it appropriate for students.

This isn't first high school hubbub over the past year surrounding Rent, the Jonathan Larson musical that won the 1996 Tony award for best musical. Early in 2009 in Newport Beach, Calif., Corona del Mar High School principal Fal Asrani reportedly attempted to halt a student presentation of Rent because of its gay themes, a claim she has denied. A Dallas-area high school canceled its production in December following outcry from conservative parents and students.

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