Black and White Kiss Excised, Put Back in Children's Play

From Associated Press

A wedding without a kiss? The director of a children's theater ordered a kiss excised from a wedding scene after a businessman complained because the actor is black and the actress is white.

The actor went ahead and kissed his "bride" on the cheek anyway, and the theater director reversed her decision after a flood of complaints.

Scheles Rhynes said he was not punished for defying the decision of Dallas Children's Theater Executive Director Robyn Flatt, who had ordered the kiss removed from he production of "Ramona Quimby."

At a non-public performance for schoolchildren Thursday, he took Kristina Fail's face in his hands and gave her a kiss on the cheek during the wedding scene.

"The fact that they got married needed some sort of affirmation," Rhynes said. "I don't think a handshake could be used."

Later Thursday , Flatt who had made the decision to remove the kiss, reinstated it, saying the theater program had received 100 or more calls.

"My reason for changing one small portion of he show was to defuse a situation that was taking the focus off he theme of the play," she said. "In fact, the opposite happened, and I feel I made the wrong call."

Investment banker Charles V. Lemmon had threatened to picket the theater over the kiss and demanded that the roles be recast. He had said he objected to the interracial kiss because "I think there is an obligation to inform parents that something controversial is going on before they buy tickets."

In a letter faxed to news organizations Thursday, after the kiss was ordered removed from the scene, Lemmon said he was canceling his plans to picket.

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