Talk to the hand!
The catchphrase that made Trent Oliver into a star!
The prom, the big dance, signals that graduation is nearby. It’s a farewell to friends, nemeses, teachers who have touched you and others who are glad to see you go. My prom went well…..until I realized the girls I’ve hanged out with were true bitches! The disrespect came heavily from Patty. She was belligerent on the ride over and returning that I provided, and at the dinner table. My date Walter quickly dipped out to be with his circle jerk of a brotherhood. Otherwise, the food and music were on point. There could have been same sex couples, but I don’t know. And frankly, I didn’t care. If you were willing to pay the $45 per person and looked fly, you were alright with me. The same cannot be said about gay couple Emma (Kaden Kearney) and Alyssa (Kalyn West). Everyone has to ‘prompose” to their significant other and Emma and Alyssa are no exception. What can go wrong? Everything and more. The PTA, especially the president Mrs. Greene, (Ashanti J’Aria does a hell of a job being the bad guy!), she’s also Alyssa’s mother, are not thrilled with having a gay couple at the prom. Before, we go into their story, let’s backtrack to an earlier time.
Actors Barry Glickman and Dee Dee Allen (Patrick Wetzel and Courtney Balan are a dynamic duo) have opened the show “Eleanor!: The Eleanor Roosevelt Story” and closed it the same night. Critics didn’t hold back their distaste for the show or the two starring lead narcissistic actors. Though Dee Dee has perfected the late First Lady’s high-pitch voice, she sounded like a chicken with a twisted neck, the show wasn‘t all that. Soon, the company, which includes Trent Oliver (actor Bud Weber kept the funny momentum going from beginning to end which was genius!) who loves to repeat how he studied at Julliard. The company have an idea to save face. They devise a plan to find a cause and fix it. A few ideas are tossed around —world hunger, global warming— then, a story on Twitter is found about a lesbian high school student who was denied access because she wanted to her girlfriend in Edgewater, Indiana. They decide to fly down to the Midwest and help. That’s when things get real. Real funny and memorable.
“The Prom,” music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin and book by Bob Martin and Beguelin and concept developed by Jack Viertel, is a roman à clef on a real life prom in 2010 at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi, when senior Constance McMillen wanted to take her girlfriend to their senior prom.
The PTA, banned the couple from going. Along with the ACLU, McMillen sued and won, but not the way she wanted. The sneaky parents unified and secured a different venue elsewhere, whereas, the true prom only had 7 teenagers. Shameful! Dee Dee made it all about her. She hoped her presence, and others, were enough for the whole situation to turnover. When that didn’t happen, the situation worsened. Barry wasn’t having it and soldiered on in making the prom a reality. Alyssa’s mother, is highly against her daughter attending prom.
After all the boo-hooing and other extreme mental commotion that ensued, the school has their long-awaited prom, of course.
Wetzel and Balan worked well together as surrogate parents to the student body. It began to save their careers and ended with saving the students of an unforgettable night that only happens once in a lifetime. Kearney and West have great chemistry and their voices unite beautiful in their songs. A lot of heartfelt songs and strong emotion makes this a wonderful production to enjoy.
The Prom, plays at the Ahmanson Theatre, located at 135 N. Grand Ave, Los Angeles, Dark on Mon., Tues. – Fri. at 8 p.m., Sat. at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sundays 1 and 6:30 p.m., ends Sunday, Sept. 11th at 1 p.m. no 6:30 p.m. show. Tickets start at $35 and available at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org or call Center Theatre Group Audience Services at 213.972.4400.
Run Time and Intermission: 2 hours and 30 minutes including one 15-minute intermission.
Covid policy is that the audience is vaccinated and masked at all times for the performance.