(CNN)The Hungarian State Opera has canceled a third of its performances of the stage musical "Billy Elliot" for this month and July amid criticism by a pro-government media outlet that the play could turn Hungarian boys gay.
Some 'Billy Elliot' shows canceled in Hungary after criticism that musical could turn boys gay
In a statement, the opera said that the press reports had resulted in "reduced interest" and that 15 out of the 44 performances would no longer go ahead.
The musical, adapted from a 2000 British movie of the same name, tells the story of a boy who grows up in poverty and finds refuge in ballet.
The criticism in Hungary has been driven by Magyor Idok, a news website that openly supports right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
In an opinion piece published on the website this month, a contributor named Zsofia N. Horvath accused the State Opera of disseminating "rampant gay propaganda."
"The propagation of homosexuality cannot be a national goal when the population is getting older and smaller and our country is threatened by invasion," the article said.
"Our government is trying to ... help family prosperity with a lot of tools and money, so it's inexplicable and intolerable that a leading state institution is going against this intention and that it makes quite a few youngsters miserable, who would have not gone this direction by themselves."
Asked whether the piece reflected t