“The Prom” Broadway Musical Review

Samantha Zakrzewski, Writer/Editor

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Bright. Eccentric. Heartwarming. Emotional. This 7 Tony Award Nominated musical is bound to have you singing along with its lovable, charismatic cast!

“The Prom” tells the story of Emma Nolan (portrayed by Caitlin Kinnunen), a teenager from Indiana who wants to take her same sex partner to their high school prom. The only problem is that the school’s PTA is very strict and conservative and, as they cannot forbid Emma and her girlfriend from attending, decide to cancel the school’s prom. As you would imagine, this causes a national uproar, which garners the attention of narcissistic Broadway stars Barry Glickman and Dee Dee Allen (portrayed by Brooks Ashmanskas and Beth Leavel respectively) who travel to Indiana to help. Little does anyone know, these stars are only helping Emma to save their reputations after an awful Broadway performance that received harsh reviews.

As acceptance was one of the overarching themes of “The Prom,” this show was very eye opening. From the program and the previews, the show appeared to be a light hearted, cheerful musical that was bound to be filled with those catchy songs that you find yourself still singing even weeks after seeing the show. However, that was far from the case with “The Prom.” Looking around the Longacre Theatre, I saw people tear up and hug one another because they themselves could relate to Emma’s struggle for acceptance. The most powerful song by far was “Unruly Heart,” in which Emma posts a video online of her singing about her desire to be accepted, which encourages others in the LGBTQ+ community to share their struggles as well.

Trent Oliver (Christopher Sieber), my personal favorite, was absolutely phenomenal. His charming personality lightened the mood of the show. Not only that, but his character served as comedic relief and provided many with that much needed laughter. Even when things were looking glum for the rest of the cast, this Juilliard student (who is sure to remind you of his alma mater at every given opportunity) managed to cheer everyone up with one of his zany remarks. In particular, his extremely catchy song “Love Thy Neighbor” was one of my favorites as it exposed the kids in town for their sins in a very humorous way.

As someone who lives in a very diverse and rather accepting part of the country, it shocked me that there are towns still stuck in this old mind set that discriminates against members of the LGBTQ+ community. Watching these PTA moms verbally attack Emma was both heart wrenching and eye opening as I was able to see that many LGBTQ+ members still have to deal with naive people who are unwilling to accept them for who they are.

I’ll refrain from spoilers, but I will say that “The Prom” does in fact end on a cheerful note. I would highly recommend this show to everyone as it is brings energy, joy and cheerfulness to all. So grab your dancing shoes and hairspray because, as the show’s motto goes, “You belong at The Prom!”