Tori made her directorial debut in spring of 2021 with RENT - Teen Edition at Rhino Theater, a local NJ theater where Tori started her performing career. This was a full circle experience for Tori to be directing a show she had performed in a number of times, and on her old stomping grounds. Within these times with the Coronavirus, Tori wanted to take a new approach to Rent while still honoring the core of the piece and all of the character's experiences. Here is the Director's note of her concept :
“They’ve closed everything real down—like barns and troughs and performance spaces. And replaced it all with lies and rules and virtual life.” Jonathan Larsen, the creator of RENT must have had a crystal ball looking ahead to 2020 as he wrote these words in the early 90’s.
Rent tells the story of a community living in New York City on the Lower East Side in the late 1980’s/early1990’s. The lens focuses in on a special chosen family. Through the next few hours, you’ll see the characters experience love, loss, joy, poverty, and much more—all amidst the AIDS pandemic.
This past year, Coronavirus has changed the world. Similar to the characters in the story of RENT, the loss of hope, opportunity, and love are all things that sadly we can deeply connect to.
With the music and lyrics written by Jonathan Larsen as our vessel, today this cast is going to take you through a year in the life of a group of teenagers who’s lives changed in an instant. A year without in person school, family gatherings, special events — a year filled with death and disease. Also, the opportunity to continue to have the necessary conversations about Racial and L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ injustice in our country.
With this given reality, we’ve had no choice but to make the best of things, take care of one another and live each day as if it’s the last. It is such an honor to be able to tell this story, through meaningful messages that have continued to stay relevant for 25 years. Messages that inspire us to follow our dreams, treat those around us with love and respect and remember that there is no day but today."