Longacre Theatre, New York
Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, The Prom provides pure elation mixed with comedy so expertly that you can’t fail to leave with a beaming smile on your face. The uniformly excellent cast excel at bringing their individual storylines to life but never fail to lose the heartwarming core of the show.
Creative team Chad Beguelin (book, lyrics), Bob Martin (book) and Matthew Skylar (music) have created a new, fresh musical which pokes fun at everyone equally and tackles issues which are so relevant for a lot of people. What makes it so entertaining is that fact that it’s every theatre fan’s dream (or at least mine); problems are solved with songs and dances as a group of Broadway stars are there to safe the day, fight homophobia and bring love to all.
As the girls banned from going to the school prom together, Caitlin Kinnunen (Emma) and Isabelle McCalla (Alyssa) give warm and youthful performances which make you root for the pair and for their love to flourish. Christopher Sieber as Trent Oliver, Brooks Ashmanskas as Barry Glickman, Beth Leavel as Dee Dee Allen and Angie Schworer as Angie are refreshingly funny and spirited enough to be better and do better for themselves but more importantly, those around them. The fearless four are bold and brilliant, with performances that will be remembered forever and are surely set to be highly recognised in the awards circle. Josh Lamon and Michael Potts also give exceptionally strong and well grounded performances as Sheldon and Mr. Hawkins.
Scott Pask’s scenic design is sleek and colourful and feels extremely realistic as it brings small town Indiana to life. Emma’s room, full of posters and trinkets looks like a real teen’s room ad helps to ground this larger than life piece of theatre. Despite sometimes feeling a little tacky and weirdly placed in time, Ann Roth and Matthew Pachtman’s costumes fit well with the vibe of the show.
It’s amazing to see a show on a mainstream Broadway stage that is so important for such a large group of people and really feels like a celebration of everyone that feels remotely ‘different’. The Longacre Theatre has become a hub of joy, with every song providing a surplus of equality and elation. The Prom inspires us to thrive to be better and shows how small actions can have a lasting, positive effect on the world. Go see it.
photo credit: Dori Berinstein