Philadelphia drag cabaret star Martha Graham Cracker was invited to read to a group of 25 elementary-aged children at an after-school program in New Jersey, but her invitation was suddenly and unexpectedly rescinded once officials deemed her act “inappropriate.”
Mark Simmons, a supervisor at Haddonfield Child Care, contacted the Martha Graham Cabaret’s bandleader about taking part in his Read Across America program paying tribute to Dr. Seuss. Martha would choose a Seuss classic and perform some kid-friendly tunes, but days later Simmons was informed that Martha and co. had been disinvited:
I’m in a bit of a quandary here … I’m being told by some of my superiors in this organization that this guest choice is inappropriate. I cannot, however, get any of them to tell me why or how Martha Graham Cracker reading Dr. Seuss to our after-school program is inappropriate.
Simmons hoped to gather letters of support from the community and “make a presentation to the company decision-makers with the hopes of changing their minds.” However, Simmons informed Philly Mag that he had received an official “no” and was told not to attempt the letter campaign.
Now Martha has performed for children before, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and parents have advocated on her behalf:
My son, Emerson, has effectively known Martha since before he was born. So I speak from personal experience when I rise up to say that his world is a better, much richer place with Martha in it. Certainly more fabulous, at least. In all seriousness, it is exactly the same kind of creativity and willingness to explore that i try to instill in my 6 yr old son…
Philly Mag suggests that the officials decided to disinvite Graham Cracker for being gay or for dressing in drag, though we think they probably imagined Martha would read from that forgotten Seuss tome, Horton Hears a Homo.