By Greg Carannante
City & Shore Magazine
When the lustrous, bell-like timbre of Tory Vagasy’s voice rang from the stage of the America’s Got Talent semifinals just three months ago, her flawless rendition of the Disney classic, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, received a standing ovation.
Unfortunately, she didn’t feel the love from all the judges that night, and the curtain came down on her AGT run. Nevertheless, her performance — as well as the accolades of two judges — made it clear that the dream of becoming a Broadway performer is no pipe dream for the 20-year-old Pompano Beach native.
Those theatrical aspirations will take their first professional strides toward the footlights on Dec. 17, as Vagasy makes her debut in the Slow Burn Theatre Company’s production of Kinky Boots. Playing Nicola, one of the two female leads, at Broward Center for the Performing Arts will complete a circle for Vagasy, who grew up catching Broadway tours there.
It was this love of musical theater and especially all things Disney that sparked her passion for performing — one nonetheless hindered by juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and a serious case of stage fright.
“I never really felt normal growing up, which in turn made me a lot shyer,” she said. “I had to prove myself to people and work double-time to put myself out there and be just as good as an able-bodied person.
“I went from absolutely hating singing in front of everyone to loving it. Now, I’m addicted to it.”
And that love for performing is easy to see in her responses to our standard set of Quote Unquote questions.
Tory Vagasy performing on America’s Got Talent. (Courtesy)
Aside from the weather, what do you enjoy most about living in South Florida?
I love all of the wonderful places to eat and all of the beautiful outdoor spots. From the beach to the Everglades to nature preserves, it’s such a lovely place to be outside.
Aside from the weather, what do you dislike most about living in South Florida?
Probably how crowded it gets, especially at the beach.
Are you a beach person or a pool person?
Pool for SURE!
When in your life are you or have you been the happiest?
When I’m performing and singing, I may be happiest. Performing on AGT was the happiest I’ve ever been!
What do you do when you’re stuck in a traffic jam on I-95?
Have a car concert, of course. Nothing like a little car karaoke!
What music are you listening to now?
Are you a fan, and if so, of what?
Big Disney fan! I love going to the theme parks, watching the movies — just everything about it.
What are your social media usernames?
@once.upon.a.tory on TikTok and Instagram.
Who is your real-life hero or heroine?
Idina Menzel. I’ve looked up to her ever since I was little and she’s my No. 1 inspiration for my performing career!
What do you like most about yourself?
That I never give up no matter what. I’ll always keep working hard and trying my best.
What places in South Florida do you recommend to guests visiting from out-of-town?
Definitely recommend catching a show at Broward Center or visiting beautiful nature reserves like Fern Forest — one of my faves.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Maybe an inch or two taller, haha.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Getting to the semifinals on America’s Got Talent is definitely my greatest achievement. I’m so proud of my performances and how far I got!