Review: The Prom, starring Caitlin Kinnunen
If you were looking for one word to describe The Prom, that word would be HEART. While flawed, The Prom wears it's heart on it's sleeve in the best and biggest way possible, practically begging you to have a good time while singing and dancing it's way into your heart.
While the title sounds pretty self-explanatory, The Prom begins at a Broadway opening night for the show "Eleanor", about Eleanor Roosevelt. But when the reviews are negative, four down on their luck Broadway stars leave the bright lights of Broadway to find a cause. What is their chosen cause, you might ask? A girl in Indiana who was banned from attending her school's prom because she wanted to bring her girlfriend as her date.
With direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw, The Prom takes on an almost too familiar persona, that is not unlike Nicholaw's Mean Girls, also a high school related show. However, it is the talent and energy in the cast that makes the show as heartfelt and open as it is. The music is a fusion of genres, blending both over-the-top musical theater numbers (think Chicago and Godspell) and pop songs into the score. While it the standard for many new musicals, it is well suited to the premise of the show.
While Caitlin Kinnunen and Isabelle McCalla give very nice performances as Emma and her closeted girlfriend Alyssa, who is grappling with her mother's crusade against same-sex couples, the real stars are the down on their luck actors. Dee Dee Allen, played by Beth Leavel, is a two-time Tony Award winner who carries her Tonys in her purse, in the hope that it will give her a better motel room. Barry Glickman, played by Brooks Ashmanskas, is a one-time Drama Desk Award winner and the FDR to Dee Dee's Eleanor in their failed production.
They are joined by Christopher Sieber as Trent Oliver, a waiter/actor whose biggest accomplishment to date it graduation Julliard; and Angie Schworer as Angie, a chorus girl in Chicago who is tired of waiting to go on as Roxie. And what is a group of actors on a mission without someone to publicize their charity? Josh Lamon plays Sheldon Saperstein, the publicist to all four, and while he can't book them Jimmy Fallon, he can book a monster truck rally.
Despite all the uber-talented performers on stage, The Prom's main flaw is an excessive number of subplots. It flows your typical mold for a Broadway musical while cramming in a variety of mini-stories that don't get to be explored to their full potential. That said, The Prom will still manage to dance its way into your heart. It may not happen immediately, but believe me, it will happen nonetheless.