Thespians and administration reach resolution on 'Rent'

Update: Principal Marc Guarino sent a statement on Rent Dec. 18. See below:

"Upon completing an extensive collaborative process, Trumbull High School’s Thespians will perform Rent: School Edition on the originally scheduled dates in March 2014. This process allowed for meaningful input and discussion with our intervention specialist, student support staff, teachers, and the THS Thespians. Opportunities provided by our Advisory Program, Peer Leader Program, and assistance from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) can and will occur as a plan during January, February, and March with follow- up activities in April.

I am appreciative of the support of our staff and students in assuring that Rent: School Edition will be a learning opportunity to explore significant themes, one of which being the role the community plays in all our lives. It is, in fact, our collaborative community that has enabled Trumbull High School to collaboratively move forward with Rent: School Edition to be performed in March, 2014.

Marc Guarino

Principal, Trumbull High School"

Original story: The show will go on.

Trumbull High Thespian Society President Larissa Mark announced Monday that a resolution has been reached between school administration and students and parents, regarding the performance of Rent: The School Edition. The performance will take the stage March 27 through March 30.

“I am ecstatic to share with you that the Trumbull High Thespian Troupe will be putting on a production of RENT: School Edition from March 27th-30th,” Mark wrote on “Thank you all for your support, kindness and generosity through this entire process. It has been an uncertain journey these past three weeks, but the results have been worth all the effort. Throughout this entire process, we have spread messages of love and acceptance throughout the country and around the world. We will continue to impart the themes of RENT throughout our rehearsals and production this March.”

Parents of thespians said they met with the administration Monday and were happy and grateful a resolution had been reached. A call placed to Principal Marc Guarino for comment was not returned Monday.

Last week, there was a glimmer of hope for Rent supporters, as First Selectman Timothy Herbst promised to work with Guarino toward a solution. Last Tuesday, Guarino said he had an educational plan in place to address sensitive topics in the play, but asked it be delayed until late April and early May. The principal’s proposed timeline didn’t work for most students, who have academic and extracurricular commitments during that time. Students and parents came to last week’s Board of Education meeting to explain their frustration with the date proposed. Guarino was present at the meeting but did not speak on Rent publicly, though he talked to parents and students after the public comment portion.

“I was elated when I heard the show was back on,” student Gabby Tropp said at the meeting. She said that changed when she saw the proposed date.

“Why schedule it for when we can’t be in it,” Tropp said.

Larissa Mark said she sent out a survey to thespians to find out if they would be able to be part of the later production. About 31% of thespians were going to be part of choir trip around that time, 23% were part of spring sport, 64% were taking AP exams, which fall around that time, and 57% were going away for April vacation. Mark said the original dates of late March were the only times that worked for students.

Parents also spoke in support of keeping the performance at original dates. Rick Bolton, who has a doctorate in educational leadership said it is possible to implement the principal’s educational plan in time for the March production.

“There is nothing that can be done in 130 days that can’t be done in 110,” he said to the board. “You have a tremendous amount of resources no matter what needs to be done.”

The Board of Education chair Deborah Herbst voiced support of administration and said she was encouraged by Guarino’s efforts to find a compromise.

“Everyone’s objective is to go forward,” Herbst said. “I’m very pleased to hear the principal was trying to move forward. I was encouraged by that.”

Moving forward

On Monday, Mark thanked all supporters.

“We are thankful for everyone who has helped to spread our story and cause,” Mark wrote. “The Thespian Society at Trumbull High has felt this entire community come together for the common goal of spreading Jonathan Larson's beautiful words, and together we have made an impact on our society.”

For updates on the production, including future ticket sales, visit

Anyone interested in supporting or sponsoring the Thespian Troupe can contact