From Orange County to Detroit: Rent Debate Rages On


After much lobbying, Orange County’s Corona del Mar High School will see students perform Rent. But that doesn’t mean the Tony-winning musical has been sanitized enough for the rest of the country. Like in a Detroit suburb, where a youth group hoping to perform the school-friendly version of the show just saw their hopes drowned by over-sensitive administrators.

In Taylor, Michigan, the city-funded Taylor Teen Youth Theatre had already cast some two dozen actors for its Rent production — and then city administrators pulled out the carpet. The decision came in early January, reports The Detroit News, with an excuse that seems to be echoing throughout America: Even the toned down, school-friendly version of Rent is too risque for kids to produce.


“There’s always a point where you have to wonder about appropriateness,” says Mike O’Malley, Taylor’s executive director of Parks and Recreation. “We’ve received feedback from people who said it’s a good decision not to continue with this and other people who said the arts should push the envelope … there’s a fine line.”

This, after the city already paid the licensing fee for the show. Now the kids are scrambling to make sure the show still goes on, using their own cash to re-apply for the rights. Taylor Teen Youth Theatre group director Dione Carrico says they’ll need $10,000 to get it done, to pay for rights and a new location. “I made a commitment to my kids,” she says. “We’re keeping this together.” They hope the curtain goes up in July.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #detroit #michigan #rent stories and more


  • sal

    sounds like donations are needed??where’s the info if someone wants to donate??

  • Sebbe

    The group’s director, Dione Carrico, should be commended for her support of these kids both emotionally as well as financially. Apparaently she has put in some of her money, but they are still $10,000 short + the venue.

    I have sent an email to the reporter at The Detroit News and will post if I get a response.

  • century33

    My partner and I in metro Atlanta ( former Detroiters ) would like to know how to support these dedicated teens as well. Where do we send a check?

  • getreal

    OUEERTY please let people know how we can help. Also if they are now funding it themselves doesn’t that mean they can perform an unsanitized version?

  • Qjersey

    The parents and city administrators should be forced to watch two hours of MTV and the Gossip Girl before making any judgement about Rent.

  • Sebbe

    @getreal – I also wish to help. I have emailed the reporter whom wrote the story, but have yet to here back from her. I will let you guys know once (if) I do.

    I suspect it will still be the “sanitized” version as that is the license they have purchased. I presume it is a different licensing procedure for the full version with different rules and restrictions. These are just my assumptions, but we will have to wait and see. I hope this can come together for these kids.

    @Qjersey – ABSOLUTELY, these people are living in denial and walking around with blinders on.

  • Sebbe

    Hey guys & ladies, I have been in contact with the journalist that wrote the story for The Detroit News and the director of the production Dione Carrico. I will post below the information she forwarded me if anyone else wants to send a donation. Me and my bf will be doing so tomorrow.

  • Sebbe

    Hi Mr. XXXXXXX-

    Thank you so much for contacting me in regard to the article in the Detroit News about our production of Rent. I can’t thank you enough for wanting to contribute to our show. These kids have worked very hard and this show means more than I can even begin to express to you in this short email. I’m vacationing, but I wanted to get back with you right away.
    Donations can be made payable to:
    Friends of the Taylor Youth Theatre
    10561 Continental
    Taylor, Mi 48180

    If you have any other questions, I may be reached at XXX-XXX-XXXX or at this email address.

    Once again, we can’t thank you enough!!!!

    Dione Carrico, Director

Comments are closed.