Sherman High School is not going to let Max Hightower, who was cast in the lead role of his class musical, perform because he is transgender. The school has also developed concerns that Oklahoma! is too risquè as an excuse to postpone it and recast, apparently hoping a pause will quiet things down.
Having performed in his school theater program for several years, Max Hightower was "devastated" when his principal informed him the school had a new policy about transgender performances. Now, the school claims there is no policy; they are just not letting this production have actors portray any gender other than the one they were assigned at birth. It seems being mean is the point.
But shortly after he was cast in the part, Max said the school principal told him about a new policy that would take away his role because he identifies as a transgender male. "Actors and actresses could only play a role that was the same gender they were assigned at birth," Max said. "I was devastated." The school district said the show would be postponed until January due to what officials called sexual content and profanity, and they said while there was no policy on how students are assigned to roles, for this production the gender of the role as identified in the script would determine casting. Hightower said his son has typically played female supporting characters in school productions and Max said the policy doesn't really make sense in the historical context of theater. "All kinds of actors have played all kinds of parts," Max said. "I mean, I grew up watching 'Mrs. Doubtfire.'"