Student Tenor Recast Because of Gender

A high school senior was recast in Gilbert and Sullivan’s musical, “The Lass That Loved a Sailor.” Sara Zinzilieta, a strong tenor, originally won the lead as the sailor. After a flurry of controversy and a parent’s meeting during which some parents complained that keeping a girl in the part would send a “mixed message” to students, the school board recast Ms. Zinzilieta to a major soprano female role.

“It was pretty awful because I had tried out for the role and had gotten it, and then it was taken away from me because I’m female. There’s no love scenes. There’s not even a hug,” said Zinzilieta.

Director of the high school’s drama program, Doug Hahn, quit after the board’s decision took effect. “There would be no Shakespeare if we didn’t have men and women playing different roles,” said Hahn.


AP - February 4, 1998

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