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Students Praised for Conduct on 'Rent' Issue

Larissa Mark
Larissa Mark
Trumbull High School students showed maturity in dealing with the cancellation of "Rent," showing they can handle its contents, including HIV/AIDS, drug use and homosexuality, supporters said Tuesday.

The show remains cancelled but talks are ongoing. It's not likely to be performed in spring 2014, THS Principal Marc Guarino said in a Dec. 3 letter.

Speaking to the Board of Education, Jane Helfgott said, "Rent is a Pulitzer-Prize winning piece of art that's been wonderful for high schools. [THS Thespian Society President Larissa] Mark has handled with humanity, dignity, grace and intelligence. Her peers have done the same."

The students have shown the "maturity to produce this work of art," she added.

Mark herself quoted the show, saying, "There is no day but today to put on this production. Trumbull is the right place to put on this show."

Parent Jonathan Tropp followed her, asking why the subjects in the show are "sensitive."

"The  year is 2013. Homosexual living is legal and protected in Connecticut. Gay marriage is a right here. I can't accept homosexuality is a sensitive issue," Tropp said.

"I struggle to understand" why issues like HIV/AIDS and illegal drug use are sensitive if they are taught in health classes, he added.

Hannah Pirozzoli, a THS senior who said she was speaking for someone who is gay, said Trumbull High is an accepting place.

"'Rent' is a show about life. The daily life of struggling young adults just like us," Pirozzoli said.

Amity School Teacher Janet O'Donnell said other high school productions of "Rent" have gone well.

"It was a wonderful production. The kids did a great job," she said.

Parent Andrea Gottschall, whose son Max won awards for performances in THS musicals, said she's been meeting with Guarino and will continue discussions.

Guarino wants a thorough plan developed and objected to not being consulted in the selection of the show.

Meanwhile, the THS for Rent Facebook Page reached 6,372 friends as of Thursday morning.

dave wilsoon December 05, 2013 at 10:47 PM
When he is done with his tantrum for not being consulted, somebody please change his diaper and put the darn play on already.
Joan December 06, 2013 at 09:35 AM
Trumbull is getting a lot of unfavorable press nationwide over this debacle. One such article described our town as a "backward little hamlet." It's time for the First Selectman to take a stand on this. Perhaps if he does the right thing, the Board of Ed can prevail upon Mr. Guarino to reverse his embarrassing "decision."
faith wollner December 06, 2013 at 01:29 PM
. Are you so afraid of yourself? I feel sorry for the students who want to have this performance their hands are tied by the narrow minded, homo phobic thinking of the adults in this situation. Shame on all of you!

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