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Old 12-07-2018, 09:01 AM
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Default Principal spars with parents over Nazi props in ‘Sound of Music’


Principal spars with parents over Nazi props in ‘Sound of Music’
By Reuven Fenton and Selim Algar
December 6, 2018 | 10:09pm

LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts
David McGlynn

Students at famed LaGuardia HS in Manhattan revolted this week after Nazi props were prohibited from a new production of “The Sound of Music,” sources said.

The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, made famous by a 1959 stage debut and a 1965 film, tells of the Austrian von Trapp family fleeing the Third Reich.

But Principal Lisa Mars, already under fire for a perceived lack of dedication to the arts, told participants that displaying the hateful symbols was inappropriate. Citing their historical relevance, students pushed back on the ruling and parents discussed the matter with Mars at a Tuesday PTA gathering.

According to the Department of Education, both sides eventually agreed that some Nazi symbols would still be presented in the production slated to debut Friday.

“You can’t be offended by history,” said a member of the production team at the city’s top performing-arts school. “This is a historical play, and we want it to be historically accurate.”

A DOE spokeswoman said Mars never prohibited the symbols outright and only wanted to establish a dialogue with parents and students on the delicate matter.

“The use of this historical symbol of hatred in two specific scenes during LaGuardia’s upcoming production of ‘The Sound of Music’ serves both an artistic and pedagogical purpose, and the decision to include it was made in collaboration with school staff, students and families,” said DOE spokeswoman Miranda Barbot.

A LaGuardia parent echoed overall concerns over Mars’ rocky tenure at the school but applauded her for being cautious about the Nazi insignias. “Our cultural moment is different now,” he said. “Certain things are going to be more provocative. I do applaud Dr. Mars for having a discussion about this.” The parent also raised concerns that pictures of the symbols taken at the performance could be placed online without proper context.

In order to blunt any potential offense or harm, LaGuardia will include a program insert urging community members to oppose hate.

“LaGuardia Arts stands united against hatred, and we ask that you join with us in denouncing all forms of hate and intolerance,” the message reads. “When we say never again will those atrocities of war be repeated, NEVER AGAIN must be a promise kept.”

Also, a portion of the proceeds from the performances will be donated to Holocaust organizations.
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