When Ithaca High School announced last fall that the spring musical would be "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," high school senior Annabella Mead-VanCort's mother, Eliza VanCort, wrote a letter to school administrators.
Mother and daughter were thrilled that a musical with a leading role of a female of color would be performed on the school's stage. They would be keeping an eye on this production, Eliza wrote in the letter in late November.
"And then they cast it the way they did," Annabella said. "And then we decided to write letters.”
A white actress was cast in the role of Esmeralda, a Romani gypsy living in 15th-century Paris.
Maddi Carroll, a 17-year-old senior at Ithaca High School and member of Students United Ithaca, was cast in the ensemble and quit in November due to the casting of Esmeralda.