Parents Question Why Virginia High School Staging Drag Musical, Brunch

West Potomac High School Principle Jessica Statz
by Tony Kinnett


A high school theater troupe is staging the risque musical “Kinky Boots” just outside the nation’s capital “in collaboration” with a leading Virginia school syste’’s “Pride” programs, prompting concern and questions from some parents.

The Beyond the Page Theatre Company at West Potomac High School in Alexandria, Virginia, will perform “Kinky Boots” eight times between Thursday and May 4, according to emails obtained by The Daily Signal.

A “drag brunch” and a “talk back” session on the need for more “LGBTQ+ plays/musicals” are scheduled in connection with the production, spurring concern among parents.

In a letter Tuesday to the high school’s principal, parents wrote that “it is our belief that such content does not belong on school property, especially when it involves minors.”

The 2013 Broadway musical “Kinky Boots” tells the story of a struggling shoe factory owner who partners with a local drag queen to save the factory by dressing all of the male employees in drag for a show.

An email from the West Potomac Theatre Boosters does warn that the musical, a collaboration between pop singer Cyndi Lauper and actor-playwright Harvey Fierstein, “contains strong language and mature content.”

The eight performances of “Kinky Boots” aren’t the only planned events. A “Talkback [sic] with FCPS Pride”—or Fairfax County Public Schools Pride—is scheduled Saturday to “explore the significance of producing LGBTQ+ plays/musicals, delve into drag history, and explore ways to support the LGBTQ+ community.”

And on May 4, a “drag brunch” will be held before the 1 p.m. show, featuring “some of D.C.’s most fabulous performers: Dixie Crystal, Pirouette, and Orpheus Rose.”

Fairfax County Public Schools serves just under 180,000 students in northeastern Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

Some local parents are outraged by the staging of “Kinky Boots” at a high school and voiced “strong objection” to both the content of the musical and the associated events in a letter Wednesday to Jessica Statz, principal of West Potomac High School, which includes grades 9 through 12. They wrote:

We understand that artistic expression comes in various forms, but we must tactfully express our view that ‘drag’ is not merely an art form but often associated with adult entertainment and, in some contexts, sex work.

Therefore, it is our belief that such content does not belong on school property, especially when it involves minors.

Some Fairfax County parents also asked that Statz clarify any minimum age to attend the musical and associated events; requirements for parental accompaniment and parental notice; and the educational value and financial cost of the musical.

Some parents also want to know whether Fairfax County Public Schools has completed background checks of the drag performers. The school system’s policy requires background checks for adult volunteers who are in contact with children.

Fairfax County Public Schools, West Potomac High School, and Statz did not respond to The Daily Signal’s requests for comment before time of publication.

Shelly Arnoldi, one of the parents who signed the letter of protest to the principal, described the production of “Kinky Boots” and the associated events as “glamorizing sex work.”

Drag shows, in which men wear women’s makeup and clothing (often lingerie) and sing or dance in a sexually provocative manner, have been a form of adult-oriented entertainment as long as it has existed.

In 2015 in San Francisco, however, many LGBTQ+ activist groups began arguing that drag is an essential part of “expression.” Those first readers at “drag queen story hours” claimed they wanted to make reading to children less “heteronormative.”

The encouragement of inherently sexual drag shows open to minors by LGBTQ+ activist groups has stirred national outrage and condemnation, especially after incidents in which performers behaved sexually in front of or directly to underage children.

In 2022, a drag queen gyrated next to a small girl while singing derogatory, sexual lyrics at a drag event for “all ages” in Texas. Also that year, a nearly naked drag queen at an “all ages” drag brunch in Miami paraded a young girl around a restaurant full of cheering patrons.

And last year, a North Carolina community college increased the age requirement for attending drag shows after a drag queen straddled a minor at a campus event.

A Wisconsin drag queen, a member of the anti-Catholic group Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, was arrested in February and charged with four counts of exploiting a child and four counts of possessing child pornography.

“Drag by definition is sexual,” Arnoldi, one of the parents protesting the production, told The Daily Signal. “They wouldn’t do a show on a girl being a stripper—that wouldn’t be appropriate either.”

Opposing the staging of “Kinky Boots” at a high school “isn’t about being gay or straight,” she said. “This is about normalizing the sex business to minors.”

– – –

Tony Kinnett is a reporter at The Daily Signal.
Photo “Jessica Statz” by Fairfax County Public Schools. Background Photo “West Potomac High School” by West Potomac HS.



Appeared at and reprinted from

Related posts