Based on the true story of the 2010 Itawamba County School District prom controversy, The Prom is the kind of show that would make the world a better place if everybody got to see it. So, get those jazz hands ready, and come on down to the Providence Performing Arts Centre.
“Comic Gold” – The Hollywood Reporter
“So full of happiness that you think your heart is about to burst!” – Variety
“Think Hairspray meets Dear Evan Hansen.” – Billboard
Four by-gone Broadway stars team up to re-boot their careers and breath some new life into their acting. So, when they hear that trouble is brewing around a small-town Indiana prom, and the press is involved, they just can’t resist their last shot at the limelight and travel to the conservative town of Edgewater, Indiana, to help a lesbian student banned from wearing her tuxedo or bringing her girlfriend to high school prom. But the town’s parents will do absolutely anything to keep the dance on their level of PG and certainly won’t be booking any challenge from these jumped up wanna-be famous’s.
In 2010, Constance McMillen was refused permission to wear a tuxedo and take her girlfriend to the Itawamba County Agricultural High School prom and kicked off a controversy so big it almost swallowed the school. District Court Judge Glen H. Davidson issued a ruling partly in favor of McMillen and partly favorable to the Itawamba County School District. Judge Davidson ruled that Itawamba County School District did violate McMillen’s First Amendment rights by not allowing her to attend the prom with her girlfriend, not allowing her to wear a tuxedo and cancelling the prom. Judge Davidson wrote, “The court finds this expression and communication of her viewpoint is the type of speech that falls squarely within the purview of the First Amendment.” The school district settled the lawsuit by agreeing to a payment to McMillen and adoption of a sexual orientation non-discrimination policy.
As a result of the discrimination, celebrities including Green Day, Cat Cora, and Lance Bass, rallied together via social media to show their support for McMillen and agreed to help sponsor a “Second-Chance” prom, where McMillen and her girlfriend could attend without the homophobic backlash. She was also presented with a scholarship from The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and was chosen to be the Grand Marshal of the 2010 New York City Gay Pride March.
The Prom is a musical with a two-pronged score, which has distinct styles for the Hoosier teens and the Manhattanite interlopers, it is composed by Matthew Sklar, with lyrics by Chad Beguelin, a book co-written by Bob Martin, and Chad Beguelin. It is Directed and Choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, with Scenic Design by Scott Pask, Costume Design by Ann Roth and Matthew Pachtman, Lighting by Natasha Katz, and Sound by Brian Ronin.
This original musical has laughs, tears and joy – not to mention jaw-dropping star-turns – in a clash-of-cultures hoot that earns a big Broadway corsage. It seems like a dubious musical mash-up: Broadway narcissists-turned-activists take over a middle-American town to help a lesbian teen who just wants to bring her date to the prom. But with a tuneful score, a playful book, and performances that remind you what Broadway heart and chutzpah are all about, this cause celebre of a show turns out to be a joyous, funny, and sweet production that should appeal to several generations of musical fans. – Frank Rizzo for Variety Magazine.