Connecticut Musical Stirs Controversy After 2 Men Kiss During Performance

By Candice Leigh Helfand

HARTFORD, Conn. (CBS Connecticut) — A Connecticut high school musical causes a public walkout after two men in the cast kissed during the performance.

It happened during the “Zanna Don’t!” musical at Hartford Public High School last Friday.

“There are always circumstances (in organizing these programs) under which the values of the student or their family come into play,” said Adam Johnson, principal of the Government and Law Academy at the high school, told CBS Connecticut.

He added that many students expressed a desire to skip the show due to the subject matter.

“It’s a balancing act of individual values and the expectations of the school … (and) it was interesting, actually, seeing the apprehension,” Johnson explained.

“Zanna Don’t!” depicts life at the fictitious Heartsville High, where students with academically-charged interests sit atop the popularity echelon while football players are the outcasts, and heterosexuals must conceal their sexual preference to avoid public scrutiny.

During the show, two men in the cast share a brief kiss — a lip lock that became a great point of contention.

“There was a public walkout by a bunch of students (when the kiss happened) … mostly male,” Johnson said. “It was visually evident (due to the jerseys the team was wearing) that a lot of football players got up and walked out. It was almost a symbolic kind of thing.”

Reportedly, the school began receiving a great number of phone calls. The dean of students was even allegedly paid a visit by a Bible-wielding parent that spoke about homosexuals in an unflattering manner.

“In the weeks prior … we were told by those organizing the play that there was going to be a boy-boy kiss,” said Johnson, noting the importance of accepting homosexual intimacy as society accepts heterosexual intimacy. “When one teacher asked if I wanted to remove it, I said absolutely not.”

The production was produced by a joint effort between a task force created by Leadership Greater Hartford’s Quest program and True Colors. It was one of 16 projects available for the taking by task forces involved in Quest, participant Louise Provenzano explained.

“Our specific task force voted for this project because we believe in it, especially in light of national and local stories about LGBTQ issues and bullying,” Provenzano, who worked on the marketing committee for the project, told CBS Connecticut. “It’s not a comfortable topic for many folks … but our group is very passionate about bringing the message of inclusiveness and … compassion to the community.”

And with Spirit Day – a holiday during which celebrants promote awareness and widespread acceptance of the LGBTQ community – coming up on Oct. 20, the timing seemed perfect.

“Through humor …  and music, we’re able to address uncomfortable topics and very serious issues for many,” Provenzano said.

“Most change that comes about does require a certain amount of movement through the uncomfortable – the change process can be a bit messy and disruptive,” Ted Carroll, president of Leadership Greater Hartford, told CBS Connecticut.

After the performance, a talk back session was held to promote a dialog between students, administrators and moderators, and materials were handed out for those seeking more information about issues that affect the LGBTQ community.

Though there were members of the community put off by the show’s content, many also received it positively, Johnson said.

Its message of acceptance is especially important to proponents of “Zanna Don’t!” – which is why two more productions of the show will be performed at Hartford Public High School on Oct. 21. One performance will be for the school’s two remaining academies, and the other will be for the general public.

“I think that we’re at a time in history where there is tremendous focus on bullying and the way students are treating each other, and how they are treated, in school,” Johnson said. “We have to teach students how to respect and honor each other. (The students) need to learn about the diversity of the world and respecting the rights of all people. (I’m) really glad that we did this program.”

  • Bob Smith

    Hey, it’s a high school play, even if the male students are over 18 (which is doubtful), they aren’t men!

    • Snod

      That makes this even more perverted! Get the idea, these lost people are perverting kids not ADULTS!

      • cbpelto

        TO: Snod
        RE: Finally….

        That makes this even more perverted! Get the idea, these lost people are perverting kids not ADULTS! — Snod

        ….catching on?

        Good on you.


        [The Truth will out….one way or another. Even to members of Densa.]

    • Grego

      They stopped teaching real civics & History a long time ago. Since then the liberal public schooling being forced upon most peoples children, is the devel’s do-do, and you cbpelto, are indeed a lunatic. Bet you don’t have a clue what a real man is.

    • cbpelto

      TO: k
      RE: The ‘Lesson’ Is….

      ….you’re a ‘Man’ when you’re required to behave like one and actually do the duty.

      Young men can enlist and defend this country before they are called up in any draft. When they do so….and do so with integrity and honor….THEN THEY ARE MEN.


      [Old enough to die? Old enough to vote![

      P.S. And DRINK, in my professional [27 years in harness in the Infantry[ opinion.

    • fogey0

      You probably don’t know this because from your stupid response it is clear you don’t know a lot of things but when there was a draft the minimum age was 18!!!

    • cbpelto

      TO: Deckard
      RE: NAMBLA??? MOI!!!?!?!?

      Please keep your NAMBLA drivel out of here. — Deckard

      Try NOT to make a total fool of yourself. I’m no more NAMBLA than Obama is a Christian.

      Hope that helps.


      [God is alive….and Airborne-Ranger qualified. — Chaplain, US Army Airborne Chapel, Benning School for Boys, c. 1970]

      • cbpelto

        P.S. My draft number was 51, in the first drawing. I enlisted in 1970. I retired LTC in 1997.

        And I didn’t SAY the draftees would be under the age of 18. Maybe you graduated from the vaunted American public education system AFTER I did, 1969.l That would explain your inability to (1) read English and (2) comprehend Logic.

        P.S. About that God being alive and Airborne-Ranger qualified….

        …I am too.

        What did YOU do for US over the last 40 years?

      • Bobbert

        So you are openly admitting to being a child molester then? I knew all you Christians secretly longed for young boys, I just didn’t know you were so open about it.

    • cbpelto

      TO: Grego
      RE: Tell Me….

      They stopped teaching real civics & History a long time ago. — Grego

      Didn’t I say that, earlier?

      Since then the liberal public schooling being forced upon most peoples children, is the devel’s do-do…. — Grego

      No argument with THAT. I’ve watched it happening for the last eight years, as a (1) commissioner on a local citizens’ oversight committee on local government, including school boards and higher education and (2) as a judge in high schoohl forensics, e.g., debate. It’s amazing what is going on in the vaunted American public education system.

      …..and you cbpelto, are indeed a lunatic. — Grego

      Well…..I have an ‘excuse’. I was bashed in the head as a small child. [NOTE: Baseball bat on a follow-through during my first ever baseball game. I walked into it. Spent time in Walter Reed as they pulled bone frags out of my gray-matter. The up-side was that Ike was down the hall from me. I claim he heard about my skull fracture and had that heart attack.]


      Bet you don’t have a clue what a real man is. — Grego


      Catch up with me when YOU know what a ‘real man’ is.

      You can become one yourself. When you:

      • Enlist in the US Army
      • Do 27 years ‘in harness’ as an infantryman
      • Go Airborne
      • Go Ranger
      • Make Sergeant
      • Get a Commission
      • Lead planeloads of paratroopers out the doors of perfectly good aircraft in flight
      • Command an Infantry Company
      • Graduate Command and General Staff College
      • Graduate Logistics Executive Development Course
      • Plan, Coordinate, Execute and Evaluate exercises for State Area Commands (STARCs) regarding preparation for National Emergencies (think Gulf Wars) and Natural Disasters (think Katrinas) in the western third of the United States
      • Retire Lieutenant Colonel

      Get back with me then. We’ll talk. I’ll provide the fine tobacco and cigars…..


      [If you had a Life in the first place, you’ll never have a mid-life crisis. — CBPelto]

      • cbpelto


        ….I’ve got more time in a T10 than you have in your favorite t-shirt.

      • kurt

        To kill for the bankers and the drug runners makes you a man. Wow… i did no know that.

      • cbpelto

        P.S. Replace the word ‘cigars’ with ‘scotch’

      • cbpelto

        TO: kurt
        RE: You….

        To kill for the bankers and the drug runners makes you a man. Wow… i did no know that. — kurt


        ….don’t understand much of anything. And thanks for admitting to it.


        [The Truth will out….even from the mouths of ‘babes’…in the proverbial ‘woods’]

      • cbpelto

        TO: All
        RE: kurt….

        To kill for the bankers and the drug runners makes you a man. Wow… i did no know that. — kurt

        ….kurt obviously….

        ….don’t understand much of anything. And thanks for admitting to it.


        [The Truth will out….even from the mouths of ‘babes’…in the proverbial ‘woods’]

    • cbpelto

      TO: fogey0
      RE: Heh

      You probably don’t know this because from your stupid response it is clear you don’t know a lot of things but when there was a draft the minimum age was 18!!! — fogey9

      Stupid? Moi??!?!?

      I suspect you’re ‘projecting’.

      My working definition of ‘Stupid’ is….

      Ignorant and proud of it.

      I enlisted in the Army in 1970. I did that because my draft number, in the very first such drawing during Nam, was #51. [NOTE: I think they actually drew in the upper 100s that year.] But I figured that I had a better chance of survival if I got to choose my MOS and unit than if they did. [NOTE: I was probably mistaken. During Basic, I was approached by the White House Communications Agency to become one of their team. Silly me. I wanted to actually SEE the ‘elephant’. So I went ‘airborne’.]

      Hope that helps….


      [I was jumping C130s before your father learned how to jump a prom date.]

    • k

      What is the lesson?

    • Deckard

      Please keep your NAMBLA drivel out of here. I guess any male above the age of an infant would be considered a “man” to you. The draft, when implimented, never required 16-17 year olds to join the military, geeze!

    • john

      Hypotheticals (you guess) can prove just about anything, and yet you fail.

      Wounded or otherwise in battle does not make you a man.

    • Crier

      That’s doomed to repeat it there Charles…

  • Patrick

    I hope the school is as tolerant to other topics, such as: school prayer, pledge of allegiance, celebrating Christmas, Thanksgiving, Columbus day, Washington’s birthday, etc.

    • Jim in Houston

      Don’t count on it. This was Joe Bite Me’s home state after all.

    • Texas

      Fat Chance!!

      My suggestion if you can afford it…Private Christian School or Home School

      • Nina

        Yeah! Teach the next generation to live in fear and willful ignorance! USA! USA! USA!

    • Jenny

      Hey Patrick, why don’t you just sit the kids down in 1st grade and fill them in on the Easter Bunny, Santa and the tooth fairy? Thank God for private schools!! We don’t have to spend even a minute on plays like these or other nonsense. We educate the kids, and have the patience to let them decide on their own, when the time is appropriate. Anything less looks like recruiting. In private schools the kids can just be kids while they’re young. Public schools are a mess, failing to educate, it should be their number one job. Sad.

      • X NY'er

        I’m with Robert. It’s not that kids were left to decide on their own. The fact is they are being brainwashed by leftist teachers whose sole function is to perpetuate their jobs.
        If the kids decided, things would be much better. My own kids went through this BS and knew it was all wrong. I told them to keep their mouths shut and get good grades so they could go to college — where they could be indoctrinated further.

      • Robert

        Yep, and ever since we decided to “let them decide on their own” everything in society has declined. The problem with this progressive “let the children decide what to believe” is the very fact that they are children. I was raised with all the traditional religious and moral values, the christian holidays, and the rule of parents. I stayed out of trouble, made my way, hold a job, and am a responsible U.S. citizen without any “horrible” scars from celebrating Christmas and Easter. Maybe it’s time to return to some of those values because the lack of them has proven very destructive.

      • Mark

        oh so only YOUR beliefs should be the subject of learning. Must be a liberal.

      • crazyrightwingmom

        Mark: Yes, the parent’s beliefs should be the only beliefs taught to their children.

      • lvh

        Dolt..he’s saying a public school should be open to ALL input. Not those the liberal agenda approves.
        We all can’f afford the private education u are able to provide for yours.

        FYI I had lots of fun with the Easter Bunny, Santa and Tooth Fairy.
        And then, as all normal kids do, I grew up. But as a child I loved it.

        I hope ur kids live up to ur expectations… least happy.

    • Lou

      Patrick, you`ve hit the nail on the head!!! Being inclusive is only a good thing when you exclude school prayer, pledge of allegience, and celebrating religious holidays!!

      • Gaudior


        So, you’d be good with your kids celebrating Ramadan, Diwali, and Purim in school?

  • unoga

    Provenzano, Carroll, Adam Johnson and others (obviously) in the Hartford Public school system miss the point entirely: it is not the schools job to bring about social change. Society will change as society sees fit, not as a result of liberal interests attemting to brain wash children.

    • Nina

      Oh yes. It’s REALLY dangerous to “brainwash” kids with reality. Better to indoctrinate them into a good Christian life of fear, threats and hatred. Some people are BORN gay. Get over it.

    • Rick

      Exactly! Oh, society excepts this stuff so you kids better make sure you do too. Those kids are a part of society and the school is just trying to use band-wagon tactics to get kids to follow along.

    • Nea Poole

      Andrew…I accidentally hit report comment…hope that does not remove your comment. I absolutely agree. If you look at most kid oriented shows, especially on Disney, there is always a clearly gay character and parents, especially Dads, are missing or dolts. They media is very pro-gay agenda and wants to inculcate our children since they know they cannot sway our generation,.The anti-gay marriage vote in California showed the left what even a liberal state thought of the idea. So now they are going after the courts and our kids. They are exactly like Nazis and communists in that regard.

    • speedstan

      Excellent observation. Hopefully everyone reads through and thinks for a second before jumping the gun on replies.

  • hamidog

    So that makes freakish behavior OK? Because you feel like normal behavior is “right wing”? Better get used to it, because this country is headed for a big correction in 2012…in the direction of normalcy.

    • melissatx

      Don’t think so. You are going to be soooooo disappointed.

    • Jason

      What is so freakish about a man kissing a man? honestly. I do it all the time.

      • CaptObv

        Yeah, your mama.

      • JBar595

        I’ll be they call you Mr. Brown eye.

      • cbpelto

        TO: Jason
        RE: Well….

        What is so freakish about a man kissing a man? honestly. I do it all the time. — Jason

        …that sounds like a ‘personal problem.


        [Gay is a one-word oxymoron.]

      • Roze

        I could care less what you do in your private life. Both of my brothers are gay. But they nor I believe it is right for the GLBT to push your agenda on straight people through the school system. It is not the school systems place to teach social values, which is why I will be homeschooling my child.

      • Tim

        Because the majority don’t engage in the behavior. Therefore, by definition, it is abnormal or freakish.


      • Gary

        The majority doesn’t engage in the behavior. So I guess those who exercise everyday are also freaks?

      • William

        Your dad doesnt count.

    • Tim

      Freaks vs. normal. That’s what it’s all about. Don’t let them redefine freakish or normal.

  • socalhobbit

    Sounds like those students have mores sense than the “adults” in charge of that school. The adults don’t sound very tolerant of those who don’t share their views.

    • irishsmile

      It was the students who walked.

  • Beavis

    Because Columbus just did sooooooo much. Name a damn thing Columbus did that benefited ANYONE other than the King and Queen of Spain.

    • Bill

      He discovered the New World, where you, as a descendant of non-native peoples, now live and enjoy the benefits of your life. So YOU benefit.

      • Hazmat77

        Discovered means “the first one to observe” … clearly Chris wasn’t the first European to observe land West of Europe.
        “Leif Erickson is the explorer famous for the discovery of North America. Leif Erickson came from Iceland and was the son of an outlaw and the grandson of an outlaw. Leif was one of four children: he had two other brothers and one sister. While many people attribute the discovery of North America to Christopher Columbus, another explorer famous for his incredible discoveries, in truth, Leif Erickson beat Columbus in the discover of North America by nearly FIVE centuries.”

      • cajred

        Yeah, and boy the Vikings really settled in didn’t they? Well, maybe in Minnesota.

      • Farmer Bob

        In fairness to Columbus, we must allow that Ericson had a big head start on him, a shorter distance, and he greatly benefited from the manmade global warming that prevailed at the time. In addition to which, Columbus had to wait until his government grant was approved.

  • Bill

    They complain abouit bullying and how bad it is, and how it should stop, then they engage in a bit of bullying themselves,and ask us how it feels. Well, we don’t like it any more than you do.

    • Brett

      Yes, you, the parents and student body were clearly bullied and victimized…do you understand what bully means?

  • john

    OMG you are so freaking cleaver!

    • PinkFloydFan

      Kind of a cutting comment. Not very clever of you was it?

  • Texas

    Truth hurts dosen’t it!

  • Drew in Pa

    “heterosexuals must conceal their sexual preference to avoid public scrutiny.”

    Sounds like progressive education at its very best

  • Texas

    Non of them are unsure. It is just you PC fools who have to paste ideas all over someone elses actions to understand it. The real answer….It was sick and you don’t even have a clue why normal people don’t want to see it.

  • Bill

    Is “Zanna, Don’t!” some sort of takeoff on “Xanadu?” If so, why? What’s the significance?

  • Liberalhater

    Liberals, leave the **** kids alone!!!!!

    • Gary

      The enemy are bigots and bullies and idiots, clearly represented by the right-wing conservatives who are always the last to know they’ve lost.

  • PinkFloydFan

    That wasn’t very politically correct of them was it?

  • Jim Shores

    Our government has been takenover by the NWO. It is Satanic and perverted. Our schools have been ruined. Get out of the “Public Fool” system!

  • Lossless

    LGBTQ? An alphabet soup of cognitive dissonance.


  • Hazmat77

    Texas … in your mind it may be ‘sick’ but that doesn’t make it ‘sick’!

    To each his own. You’ll live a much better and happier life simply minding your own business and stop trying to impose YOUR beliefs on everyone else.

    • I am me

      stop trying to impose YOUR beliefs on everyone else.


      I will if you will….

    • dam

      sorta like they tried to do with this playl?

    • nunya

      You do realize its a binary arguement.

      I would recommend you mind your own business and stop trying to impose your believes on Texas, or anyone else for that matter.

    • mike

      as well as you clown….now run along and find your neighbors kids to “teach”…ok pedi boy..

    • NotDeadYet

      Moron… that’s the same thing most people commenting want. For others to stop imposing their beliefs on others. Most people really don’t care what someone does in their own home. Stop pushing it on other people in auditoriums.

  • Texas

    I am making children kiss? Sounds like something you leftys were doing. We find it and you disgusting so you tell us to mind our own business while you brain wash our children and that it is okay. I don’t think sooo!

  • jake49

    Or “they” should jam each other and stop forcing a repulsive and immoral lifestyle on people with moral sensibilities. Two men behaving like that and having sexual lreations is immoral any day of the week, 24/7.

    • Gary

      Forcing you to live the lifestyle you say? What is that if not insecurity in one’s heterosexuality? It should have no affect on how you live, if you want to live as a straight person does.

  • craig

    If the school officials believe it was their “duty” to promote the changing ideas and thoughts of society by advocating and allowing such things to be used on school property and using taxpayer money to fund, promote and “educate,” then perhaps it is time for the taxpayers to, year by year, determine who is allowed to teach in the schools. Let’s start putting up, for a vote, on who the public desires to teach their kids and what direction they desire for their communities head toward.

    • Brett

      I’m pretty sure most School Superintendents are elected officials that can be voted out if you don’t like the direction the school district is going…the fact that you didn’t know this makes me believe you probably aren’t informed enough to decide who should promote and educate our kids….

      • PJ

        I’ve never heard of a school superintendent who was “elected”. They are usually hired by the school board who themselves are elected by the people of their district.
        As a former school board member I can tell you that you need to take this displeasure directly to your board members.

  • Barry's CT. SSN 042-68-4425 FAILED E-VERIFY


    I just reported you to

    • Roze

      Oh wow, you “reported” someone for putting up a video? And who are the fascist? hahaha

    • geneclrk

      you “reported” him? sounds like you are the intimidating bully

  • Big Bear

    They don’t care. All they have to do is sell their schtick to enough people to break even. In other words, about 2% of the general population. But…they have a media arm which convinces their cult followers that they are…I don’t know…the 99% or something.

    • Waltdog

      Amen, Big Bear! MSM is one of the culprits in destroying the moral compass of this great country!

  • sean patriot

    This is just gross. I will never accept 2 men kissing.

    • ed ripp

      As a matter of fact, in several places,where he condems this sort of behavior as an “abomination”. Note that word Abomo …Nation…Hmmm.

    • cbpelto

      TO: Hazmatt77
      RE: Indeed!

      God has spoken! — Hazmat77

      Read His book. Get a clue.


      [God builds His temples in the hearts of men, on the ruins of churches and religions.]

      P.S. It HAS to be a very ‘personal’ experience.

      One you have yet to experience.

      • Gigi

        God doesn’t exist you troglodyte!

    • cbpelto

      TO: ed ripp
      RE: About that ‘Obamanation’ Business

      Note that word Abomo …Nation…Hmmm. — ed ripp

      I think you’re onto something there.

      And I’m thinking about something Someone said, about 2000 years ago.

      When you see the ‘Obamanation’ that makes desolation standing where it ought not to be…. — something of a ‘paraphrase’ of that Word…..


      P.S. Is Obama going to visit the Temple Mount anytime soon?

      Inquiring minds want to know…..

    • PolitiPorn

      @cbpelto – sure, life would be so much better if only we’d all believe in your imaginery man in the sky.

    • cbpelto

      TO: Politiporn
      RE: Funny

      sure, life would be so much better if only we’d all believe in your imaginery man in the sky. — Politiporn

      I can appreciate your ignorance. I used to ‘believe’ the same as you, until I had some occasions to actually ‘deal’ with that ‘Man’. Let alone the reps from the other ‘camp’.

      You are welcome to hold to your beliefs. However, if you had an open mind, instead of the mind you apparently got from the vaunted American public education system, you might…just MIGHT….be able to perceive more than you can right now.

      Even so…..

      ….you can still save yourself…..if you have the courage to step out of the proverbial ‘box’, the vaunted American pubic education system has put you into. And THEREIN is the mark of ‘genius’.


      P.S. Good luck with that…..

  • RP

    Perhaps we should just start deporting sex perverts like you.

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