After a special treat of The Lion King celebrating the official reopening of Broadway shows at Playhouse Square last month, the first in the KeyBank Broadway Series, The Prom opened this week and is now playing with performances through November 21!
The musical, adapted from the book written by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin (loosely based on a real-life 2010 story from Mississippi), follows four misguided Broadway actors, mourning their former days of fame, as they travel to the conservative town of Edgewater, Indiana to help Emma (Kaden Kearney), a lesbian student banned from bringing her girlfriend to the high school prom.
The musical’s motif is simple: Love conquers all! And, The Prom showcases this in the most humorous ways possible.
Having opened in Broadway to much acclaim in 2018, The Prom was made into a star-studded film whose cast included James Corden, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Kerry Washington + several other Hollywood elites. Sure, the film is great, but the thrill of seeing the story come to life in a theater is even better!
In the first act, the thespians are so narcissistic! Barry Glickman (Patrick Wetzel) pledges, “We are gonna help that little lesbian whether she likes it or not” in the reprise for “Changing Lives.” The self-proclaimed celebrity activists continue to express their self-absorbed nature in a witty way.
This is best showcased during diva Dee Dee Allen’s (Courtney Balan) song and dance, “It’s Not About Me,” where the New York stars burst into a PTA meeting in small-town Indiana wearing t-shirts saying “We’re all lesbians” while holding humorous pro-LGBTQ+ picket signs that included “NO MORE MR. NICE GAY!” and “LEZ IS MORE.”
The two young high school students struggling to be together, Emma and Alyssa, sing a beautiful duet of “Dance With You” showing why the couple belongs together, despite the misguided intentions of almost everyone around them. The two of them shared a moment on stage, showcasing other characters’ hatred over the fact that the two simply want to dance.
Yet, the true comedic relief to those heartwarming performances was Trent Oliver (Bud Weber), a Juilliard graduate turned broadway star, turned waiter. That helped uplift the audience after some very troubling times on stage with songs like “The Acceptance Song” and “Love Thy Neighbor.”
The stars of the show did an amazing job at driving home the plot through humor and experiences that are equally as endearing as they are relatable.
The supporting cast and ensemble also shined, bringing life to rural Indiana and immersing the audience in their characters’ fears and shortcomings.
Save maybe the occasional F-bomb, the musical is appropriate for most ages. The message of acceptance and inclusivity is one that everyone can learn from. The wonderful singing and dancing, thanks in large part to the director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw, aided in getting the theme across. The theater full of young and old were so moved by the end of the performance that the cast received a well-deserved standing ovation.
Bring your significant other (or heck, maybe even your previous prom date)! Theaters are now re-open and the KeyBank Broadway series is off and running with a beautiful show.