School cancels ‘Tarzan’ production over racism fears

The Disney Musical Tarzan (Getty Images)

A suburban New York high school is canceling a production Disney’s “Tarzan” after two parents complained about the source material’s implicit racism and imperialism.

The Journal-News reports that the drama club at Alexander Hamilton High School in Elmsford will instead hold auditions Wednesday for a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.”

School district superintendent Marc Baiocco says the parents who came forward were concerned about students of color playing simian characters on stage.

Edgar Rice Burroughs first published “Tarzan of the Apes” in 1912. Modern-day critics have noted the racism and colonialism suggested by the tale of a white man coming of age in a hostile African world.

Baiocco said the decision to replace "Tarzan" was part of an effort to be equitable in everything the district does.