Students at Ithaca High School sent a letter of protest to Tomkins Weekly, arguing that the role of Esmerelda was written for a woman of color.
“We want to stress that the talented young woman who was cast in this role is a stellar actor, singer, and dancer,” the students wrote. “Our concern is not with her, but with the fact that in terms of demographics, she is the wrong choice for this role.”
The students added that the actor playing Esmerelda was blonde with hazel eyes and “is the epitome of whiteness.”
The school district canceled the production, and said a "collaborative project" would replace the show, WNYW reported.