Interview: Patrick Wetzel & His History With THE PROM

The national touring company of The Prom lands at the Ahmanson August 10, 2022 (with a preview August 9th)

By: Aug. 05, 2022

Interview: Patrick Wetzel & His History With THE PROM

The national touring company of The Prom lands at the Ahmanson August 10, 2022 (with a preview August 9th). The story of a group of Broadway divas meshing with a small-town high school results in hijinks and lots of fantastic dancing. Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw reprises his Broadway directing and choreographic duties on this tour. Got a chance to throw some questions out to Patrick Wetzel, who plays one of the Broadway superstars Barry Glickman.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Patrick! You've been touring The Prom since November 2021. Any particular audience response take you by surprise?

The Prom is jam-packed with surprises! One particular moment comes near the end of the show when Barry is describing a typical prom in the Midwest. I've noticed the audience's reaction is different depending on what part of the country we are playing. Sometimes they laugh when I mention "hay bales and cows." Ha!

Interview: Patrick Wetzel & His History With THE PROM For those few unaware of The Prom, what would your three-line pitch for it be?

Come ready to laugh. But bring some tissues. The show will catch you off guard with some emotional moments.

How was it to go from working in the 2020 movie The Prom as a supporting player to one of the leads in this 2021 national tour?

I worked on The Prom in 2016 when it was being developed before its Broadway run. Watching Brooks Ashmanskas beautifully create and shape the role of Barry Glickman was a gift and I soaked up every little nuance I could, never realizing I'd get to play the part years later. After the Broadway run, I was able to work on the 2020 movie and it was a dream. I assisted with the choreography department and worked with James Corden who played Barry in the film. All of that work on The Prom prepared me to take on this huge role on the tour. I'm so grateful to have had so much history with this beautiful show. Barry is a dream role with so much humor and heart and I love getting to make him my own.

Interview: Patrick Wetzel & His History With THE PROM You were lead dancer in the film. Does your character Barry still have substantial opportunities to exhibit your nimble dancing shoes?

I don't dance like I did in my twenties. but Barry definitely shakes a tail feather or two in The Prom! :)

You got your theatrical break as an actor/waiter at the Harlequin Dinner Theatre in Rockville, Maryland. When did you decide to pursue stage managing jigs instead of being under stage lights performing?

Wow, you opened some sort of vault to find that information about the Harlequin Dinner Theatre - because that was back in the 1700s!!! In 2013, I needed to step away from the stage. I was a little burnt out as an actor and needed to take a break. Not being independently wealthy (Ha!), I needed to find a way to work in new capacities. I worked as Interview: Patrick Wetzel & His History With THE PROM a stage manager and an associate director on different projects and had a great experience. Working in different departments gave me a new appreciation for how a show gets produced on a nightly basis. It really does take a village and every department is vital in keeping the show running smoothly. I loved working in different departments. But during the pandemic, when theater was shut down indefinitely, I began to feel that "itch" to be on stage again. When the opportunity to play Barry came up, I jumped at it!

You're a veteran of a number of national tours (including Billy Elliott and Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Producers). What touring tips can you pass on to touring newbies?

Interview: Patrick Wetzel & His History With THE PROM Pack lightly! Dealing with airports on a weekly basis can be exhausting. The lighter you pack, the happier you'll be when traveling week to week.

Can you share a fun story of your first national tour Cinderella with Eartha Kitt?

Eartha was a FORCE!! She sang "Santa Baby" at a cabaret during the run of that show. She was in her element. Watching her command attention in that cabaret setting was magical. She had the audience in the palm of her hand.

Interview: Patrick Wetzel & His History With THE PROM Can you take us back to the day you were awarded the coveted 2006 Gypsy robe for your role in The Drowsy Chaperone?

What a thrill for an actor to be recognized for their body of work! There is such a long history with the Legacy robe. It's one of my favorite Broadway traditions. It began in 1950 with the Broadway production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

And what did you add to the robe when you passed it on?

The Drowsy Chaperone was about a man who listens to a record. With the help of our wardrobe supervisor, Terri Purcell, we added a record on the back with a fancy collar!

Thank you again, Patrick! I look forward to attending your Prom.

For tickets to the live performances of The Prom through September 11, 2022; click on the button below: