Students push for answers after Duval County school leaders cancel ‘Indecent’ performance

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Students at Douglas Anderson School of Arts are pushing the Duval County School District for answers, after the cancellation of their original Spring school production.

A new petition was launched, Wednesday afternoon, by some of the theater students at Douglas Anderson.

They’re asking for a better explanation of why the play was scrapped.


Action News Jax reached out to the school district on Wednesday asking if there were plans to change the decision. A spokesperson said in an email “there are no plans to reconsider the decision regarding the play.”

“This show would have been my sixth show at Douglas Anderson,” Madeline Scotti said. She is a senior at the Duval County school.

Action News Jax told you on January 6 when the school canceled the production of Indecent, by Paula Vogel.

RELATED: Controversial Jacksonville high school production canceled for “adult sexual dialogue”

The play is a play based on a play, and it recounts a controversial theatrical production called, God of Vengeance. The 1923 performance of God of Vengeance resulted in the arrest and conviction of the cast and producer on obscenity charges. The original play detailed the love affair between a female prostitute and the daughter of a brothel owner.

“Indecent is a story that needs to be told. It’s a story about censorship and Jewish lives and queer lives,” Scotti said. “These are necessary stories that have to be told, and what a wonderful place would it be to have in Jacksonville, when we have been the home of a lot of antisemitic and homophobic attacks in the past year.”

RELATED: Broadway playwright calls DCPS cancellation of Indecent play ‘censorship’ and ‘totalitarianism’

Action News Jax reporter, Meghan Moriarty, first reached out to the district about the cancellation nearly a month ago.

The district said the cancellation came because the play contains “adult sexual dialogue that is inappropriate for student cast members and student audiences.” Moriarty asked if this is tied to the parental rights in education act, also known by critics as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law. The district expressed was not.

“To me personally, I think it’s very vague and unjustified because we have proven that we’ve had permission from the playwright, from Paula Vogel, to change any dialogue that would have been said in the play,” Scotti said. “Also, the only sexual dialogue in the stage directions is a kiss.”

Scotti said there have been plays in the past at Douglas Anderson where the plot involves homosexual relationships, the drag community and adult languages. Some of the more recent plays include A Chorus Line, RENT, and Black Comedy.

Scotti is hoping her petition will bring answers and hopes to put the play on in some format.

“This show will definitely be done,” Scotti said. “It has to be.”

It is important to note: every student who originally auditioned for Indecent had parental permission to be in the play.

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