Orange County High School Trades ‘Too Gay’ Rent for Charlie Brown


HATE SCHOOL MUSICAL — Corona del Mar High School’s principal Fal Asrani refused to pay the Rent, so now students will have to settle for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. In the on-going saga Queerty was the first to tell you about, the Orange County school canceled its originally planned spring musical because of Rent‘s portrayal of gay characters. Drama teacher Ron Martin will now rehearse his cast for Clark Gesner’s musical comedy. Because Linus isn’t gay at all.


Ms. Asrani still stands by her word that she didn’t cancel the production of Rent over anything gay — and that it was Mr. Martin who called things off. This, coming from a principal who, during a meeting with Martin and a union rep, called off Rent because she needed to review the script’s inclusions of “prostitution and homosexuality,” says Martin, even though there’s nothing about hooking in Rent. (This was also the first time Asrani asked to review a script in Martin’s five years of working at the school, Martin says. It’s common practice for a principal to review scripts for student productions.)

Moreover, it seems Asrani isn’t the only higher-up who’s out of touch. Dana Black, president of the Newport-Mesa Board of Education, says the school district has no problem with edgy material, but “we don’t want anybody feeling alienated.” Well, Ms. Black, you just did some alienating: all of your gay students now feel less than equal.

So students will go ahead with You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, which beside Linus’ light loafer appeal and the bromance between Charlie and Snoopy, isn’t explicitly gay. But it’s been performed by a bunch of homos before, so maybe Ms. Asrani should think about canceling this one, too.

If you’re interested, the email adddress of Ms. Asrani — who is “especially proud of all our students and their serious efforts at keeping the classrooms and the hallways respectful and clean,” whatever “respectful” means to her — is [email protected]

Why the Orange County High School Really Banned Rent
Orange County High School Principal Bans ‘Gay Characters’ in Drama Department

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  • atdleft

    Gimme a f*cking break! All this drama… And it’s not even in the theater!

  • Austin

    Am I the only one who feels that Rent is not exactly appropriate for high school audiences in the first place? Maybe I’m a prude (which I seriously doubt), but the show portrays drug use, profanity, and various other compromising situations rather freely, and while it truly is one show that I can say changed my outlook on life, I just don’t think that it is appropriate for a high schooler to be singing lines like, “To leather, to dildos. . .”

  • atdleft

    @Austin: The school had already obtained a “clean” version of “Rent” meant for HS performances. I’m sure the dildo reference and the “drug use” were taken out. So what does that leave when all the “inappropriate material” was taken out?

  • REBELComx

    Austin, do you WATCH television or listen to high school students talk? The content of RENT is far less objectionable than that of South Park or most Family Guy episodes, both of which I’m sure the students are quoting up and down the hallways. How is RENT any more objectionable than Grease, or the Breakfast Club, or Guys and Dolls? At the same time we want these kids to grow up and become responsible but then we want to coddle them and shield them from the real world. Stop babying the young adults.

  • Sebbe

    @Austin – Isn’t it better to address and discuss the issues involved in this production (particularly with the youth) than sweeping them under the rug like they don’t exist?

  • walt zipprian

    Yeah, because high school students know nothing about drug use or profanity.

    You are a prude.

  • Austin

    Yea, I guess I am a prude, then, huh? =)

    I’m pretty sure with all the inappropriate material removed, it wouldn’t have the same cohesion and emotional impact, at least for me, but I guess I still stand by my original feelings of how the play, in its entirety, would not have been appropriate. True, teenagers all most likely know South Park and Family Guy and whatever reality show is on prime time these days. I was in high school just a few years ago, and I remember all the stuff I learned that I’m sure my parents would object to. However, those things I learned took place elsewhere: with friends, at home, from TV. Not at school. Yes, it is good to address the issues that Rent brings up, definitely, but maybe in a different forum?

  • Sebbe

    I’m of the opinion that even a sanitized version is not necessarily a bad thing. I think it might encourage some to seek out the true production by sparking an interest in their “clean” version.

  • Landon Bryce

    I get mad at everything at the drop of a hat (as people who regularly read comments here might know) and even I don’t care about this story.

    Apparently this is the school’s Anthony Rapp season and they only do musicals he has starred in on Broadway. Good thing the director didn’t try to get away with “Cabaret”– I’m not sure the principal would have been okay with that one. Sticking with Rapp’s Broadway repertoire, they could have also done that terrible “Little Prince” musical he was in as a child.

  • Cindy

    An update on this story: Ron Martin has decided not to back down and to send the ball back into Asrani’s court. He will have a copy of the script on her desk on Monday morning with the request that she review it in a timely fashion and let him know what exactly, if anything, she finds problematic. If she won’t go on record with any problems, I believe the play goes on.

  • Tweek

    @Cindy: I’m excited to hear of her response; please keep us in the loop!

    Maybe Asrani will actually realize that she’s been a homophobic cunt.Maybe we should have them do Jesus Christ Superstar instead. Let’s watch Jesus as he gets whipped. Or Mary Magdalene singing “and I’ve had so many men before… in very many ways…” (Yes, Yes, the song continues – “he’s just one more” – but it’s entertaining to cut it where it is).

  • Damon

    This whole site and their biased articles are really pissing me off.

    This, coming from a principal who, during a meeting with Martin and a union rep, called off Rent because she needed to review the script’s inclusions of “prostitution and homosexuality,” says Martin, even though there’s nothing about hooking in Rent. (This was also the first time Asrani asked to review a script in Martin’s five years of working at the school, Martin says. It’s common practice for a principal to review scripts for student productions.)

    There is in fact poledancing, which she might have confused for prostitution, seeing as she never even GOT a copy of the script to read through. Yeah, she is reviewing this script because of THE LAST PLAY, a parent complained, so Asrani said she would review all plays from now. It was just luck that the play that was chosen was RENT, and its controversial nature to begin with. Asrani didn’t cancel the play; Martin did, because for the first time someone has questioned his authority on choosing scripts.

  • Sebbe

    @damon – A blog format website is by definition biased. This is not an lgbt community center, it is a commercial site where the opinions of the editors/publisher are expressed. There is also an easy solution as well to your anger, don’t visit.

  • Damon

    @Sebbe: Well, someone has to be the voice of reason, right? Can’t just let these posts just become a center for Asrani-bashing…unless that’s what it was meant to be, in which case I apologize.

  • Sebbe

    @Damon – I don’t remember from your other posts, r u somehow connected to this school or community in some way?

  • Faux Asrani

    Well, my, my.

    I never anticipated such an outcry, and during the Presidents Week break no less. It must be a slow news week; I’d hoped that drug-resistant head lice issue at the elementary school would’ve stolen the spotlight by now. All I was trying to do was protect the community from a play with unseemly characters, and their dreadful homosexual behaviors. All this stress, I long for my home country. President Ahmadinejad is right when he states that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

    That Martin, he thinks he can go on with this play? We’ll see about that. And if any students dare to show up next week wearing ‘RENT’ t-shirts, well they had better be very careful. I’d hate to see any graduating seniors expelled for having marijuana found in their locker. Zero tolerance, remember.

  • Damon

    @Sebbe: Haha yeah just a little actually.

    @Faux Asrani: Well, she’s actually Indian, but that was a pretty funny post.

  • Sebbe

    @faux – lmfao

  • InCDM

    I am a parent of a drama student at CDM. The point being missed here is that Mr. Martin did not submit his scrip for review in a timely manner. Knowing that there were complaints concerning his previous production, he should have taken the percautions to make sure that this production of Rent was approved by all. Including “his boss” the principal. If there is an uproar over doing this production it won’t be Martin’s head on the block, it would be Asrani’s butt on the line. She is the ultimate gatekeeper, that’s why they pay her the big bucks.

    Here’s a thought, why doesn’t Mr. Martin resubmit his request for Rent for next year’s production? Giving time for all who will bear the responsibility to review the script.

    I do disapprove of Mr. Martin’s handling of this situation. He explained to his students directly the reason for the cancellation. He involved his students when this clearly should have been a teacher/administrator issue.

    The role of high school drama CLASS is to teach your students the profession of stage work. How to block, how to costume, how to stage a play. Using it for your own agenda as he has been quoted in the papers, is wrong.

  • Whup-Ass Master

    “Rent” is flat-out inappropriate for high schools.

    Besides which, Jonathan Larson is dead, and unless whoever created the “clean” version has an enchanted oija board, changing the script for any reason is a violation of copyright laws. Period.

    It would be no different than doing a production of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” wherein Snoopy does it doggy with Shroder and Lucy overdoses on heroin during “Happiness” (as entertaining tho it may be).

  • Sebbe

    @whup-ass master – copyrights can be inherited or passed on sold transferred or otherwise. Someone hold the copyright until it expires.

  • Whup-Ass Master

    @Sebbe: Jonathan Larson’s father owns the copyright. He is VERY protective over RENT’S integrity. Cutting the drugs and homosexuality from RENT is not something he’d consider. Trust me.

  • Sebbe

    @whup-ass-master – I have no knowledge of the copyright in regards to Rent. You sparked my curiosity a little though. This is what MTI (Music Theater International) claims as the official liscensor.

    “This adaptation has been carefully done, working with the Larson estate to retain the dramatic intent of the groundbreaking rock musical, and consists of minimal changes to language and the removal of one song (CONTACT) to make it possible for many schools to perform this piece.”

  • Whup-Ass Master

    @Sebbe: Okay, I bow in defeat. But as a playwright I’m shocked Larson’s Father sold him out like that. I’m not a huge fan of RENT, I think it’s unfinished and naive, but to sanitize it like this so high schools can produce it (and be performed by kids who have no freakin idea what it’s about) is purely a cynical cash grab on the part of the estate-holder. Stick to “pippin” and “oklahoma” kids. Pick a show you don’t have to gut in order for it to be palatable. That is all.

  • Martin

    It’s not that Rent is too gay…its that all this drama surrounding its production is.

    CoronANAL del mar.

    (If offended please portray your pain at your local high school’s next spring theater fest. I’ll be there.)

  • Jud

    WTF is wrong with drug use in RENT? It’s not as if drugs are discussed in a positive light, they’re talked about in a very negative, “gonna get AIDS, OD and die” sort of way. Isn’t that basically the DARE program, anyway?

    It’s not a big deal to cut a lyric about dildos, but cutting the drug use thing or the homosexuality is bullshit.

  • Cindy

    @InCDM: Mr. Martin has decided to go ahead and submit the script to Asrani. It should be on her desk Monday morning.

  • Damon

    @Cindy: It doesn’t matter whether he submits it now or not; she’s not going to allow the play. NOT because she’s a homophobe or because of its inappropriate nature, but because she’s not gonna back down to Martin’s ridiculousness. He wanted to make a big deal out of this administration-teacher relationship by pulling in the gay rights issue, then that’s great for him, but the administration and the district are standing firmly behind Asrani, and they’re not gonna back down.

    The spring play will for sure be Charlie Brown, or whatever it is.

  • NewportBeachparent

    @damon: You seem to have the inside story, and I saw in a post somewhere you describe yourself as a good friend of Ms. Asrani. She (and the district) must be counting on the community being asleep. Surprise… many of us are wide awake and paying close attention, both friends and, um, not-friends. Even if the district stands behind her, how can she possibly be an effective leader for this school? This reminds me of the movie “The Untouchables”.
    @faux: come back, we all need more humor.

  • Damon

    @NewportBeachparent: What did she do that makes her an ineffective leader? Not being able to handle a drama teacher’s bs fast enough?

  • NewportBeachparent

    @damon: If she is the leader, then she is responsible for an atmosphere of intolerance. I didn’t need all of the recent issues to know this; it has gone on for some time and not just related to gays. She has ruled with an iron fist. While she may have intended to make CDM a great school, she overlooked the damage of intolerance. If it took the drama teacher to expose this, I’m fine with that.

  • AnotherNewportParent

    I too am wide awake. And, I have a difficult time believing that the comments Damon has made on several blogs reflect any real insider’s knowledge. Additionally, if they do, our kids are really in trouble. Let’s hope the Administration is listening to the din, and will perhaps even make a decision in support of all the kids in the school (whether gay, straight, women or men) in the coming days. We concerned parents will not let up on this as the lack of leadership Asrani continues to demonstrate is both damaging to the community and to our kids.
    Yes, @faux…levity…please!

  • FireAsrani

    Parents take solace in the fact that Asrani will never work again after that article in the NYTimes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Damon

    @AnotherNewportParent: I guess you’ll have to worry then, because the comments are true…

    @FireAsrani: Good one.

  • Faux Asrani

    Get over it!

    Quit all this whining. I’m back and the school’s going into lockdown. And if I see that KCAL-9 satellite truck sitting in the parking lot tomorrow all I have to do is tell Officer Monarch to chase them off.

    But I do want to apologize… to everyone at the district who had to cut their vacations short to deal with this brouhaha. Thank you for stone-walling. And to the NMUSD webmaster who had to come back to work to add that pathetic commentary to the home page, but, did you notice? It’s all scrubbed away, as if it never happened. You can all worry about the state budget now.

    So write all the letters to the district you want. They’ll protect me because I’m one of them.

    And to all you kids, no funny business tomorrow. If I see any form of protest I’ll have my flying monkey Fernando cart you away. You’ll wish you hadn’t messed with me. Zero tolerance, remember.

  • Nancy


    High School Students are the biggest Rent fans in the world. I don’t see who Rent is inappropriate for High School. The Subject matter, such as AIDS, Drugs, and Homosexuality, are already known about to High School students. High School kids are not naive, and are mature enough to know about these topics.

Comments are closed.