Two very different groups of people come together in The Prom - Broadway actors down on their luck who are looking for a cause to improve their image, and residents of the small town of Edgewater, Indiana. These groups collide when the Broadway stars hear about a teenage girl named Emma who wants to go to the prom with her girlfriend, which terrifies the conservative PTA, who shut the prom down. The actors burst into town, all jazz hands and big belts and dance moves, not really thinking too far beyond their own selfish motives. But they soon connect with Emma and begin to learn about what generosity really means. Despite their good intentions, their plan to help Emma fails, and she comes up with a plan of her own to not only get what she wants and deserves, but create a prom that's a true celebration of individuality, where everyone is welcome. If only it were that easy; if only intolerance and bigotry could be solved with a song and a dance. But maybe it's a place to start.*
|a prom for everyone! (photo by Dan Norman)|
|it doesn't get much more fab than these four (Helen Anker,|
Jodi Carmeli, Tod Petersen, and Shad Hanley, photo by Dan Norman
perfectly cast, from Jodi Carmeli (a fixture on the Chanhassen stage who's been absent for way too long) as the self-absorbed but well-meaning Dee Dee, a high-kicking Helen Anker as always-a-chorus-girl-never-a-lead Angie, Shad Hanley as the wonderfully pompous Julliard graduate, and the always delightful Tod Petersen, who not only cracks me up with every line reading, but also infuses Barry with much heart. Leading the beautifully diverse and talented group of young actors is Maya Richardson (fresh off a year-long run as Ariel in Footloose) as the good girl Alyssa, and relative newcomer Monty Hays making their debut at the Chan as Emma. A recent graduate of St. Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts (read: a real teenager), Monty is a true find. Not only do they possess a strong and gorgeous voice, but they perform with with such real and open-hearted emotion, that it's impossible not to feel for Emma. Monty and Maya have a sweet and believable chemistry as the couple at the center of the controversy, and the Barry/Emma relationship is also really lovely, as they mentor and learn from each (Tod has known Monty since they were little, and the genuine affection between them shows). I don't even have time to mention Jay Albright's trademark bone dry humor as publicist Sheldon, JoeNathan Thomas' wonderful performance as the school principal providing a quiet dignified center for the madness, deliciously mean girls Laura Rudolph and Daysha Ramsey, or the many familiar faces doing double, triple, quadruple duty in the ensemble. As is often the case at the Chan, this is an all-hands-on-deck show, and all hands pull their weight equally.
|Emma (Monty Hays) and Alyssa (Maya Richardson)|
(photo by Dan Norman)
|TCTB: our prom photo|