Review: Lyric Theatre Goes to THE PROM

Lyric's production of The Prom runs through July 16th, 2023.

By: Jul. 13, 2023
Review: Lyric Theatre Goes to THE PROM
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Lyric Theatre’s Summer at the Civic series rolls on with their second of three large-scale musicals. The 2018 Broadway musical The Prom, written by Bob Martin with music by Matthew Sklar and lyrics by Chad Beguelin features music, dancing, and all the glitter and sparkle of the high school dance of your dreams.

When a group of well-known Broadway stars receives a bad review from the critics, their show closes and they’re left with nothing to do. Determined to prove their worth and show the critics that they’re good people (and definitely not narcissists), they search the internet for a noble cause. They stumble upon Emma, a high schooler whose school has banned her from asking her girlfriend to the prom. Freshly invigorated, they descend upon the open skies of Indiana to give Emma a prom she’ll never forget.

Michael Baron directs the cast of Lyric favorites and soon-to-be favorites. Emilee Stubbs is brilliant as Emma, the high school student who wants nothing more than to take her girlfriend to the prom. It’s a simple request, and yet one that sparks outrage as the inevitable homophobia sweeps the small town. Stubbs remains faithful to the role and portrays a character who is true to herself. She’s got soaring vocals and is right at home on the Civic Center stage.

The Broadway stars are portrayed by Lindsie VanWinkle-Guthrie as Dee Dee Allen, Jerry Jan Cranford as Barry, Nicholas Rodriguez as Trent, and Lexi Windsor as Angie. These characters all must go on journeys of self-discovery, and it’s remarkable how much can be learned about yourself when you’re helping others. VanWinkle-Guthrie is a force as Dee Dee Allen. She shows the heart underneath all that Broadway glamour. Windsor is always a welcome sight on Lyric’s stage, and she’s in her prime in this role. Rodriguez has profound moments as Trent, and he’s truly changing hearts and minds. Cranford is sweet and endearing in his role, and Barry has a moving comeback story.

Saoirse Ryhn is Alyssa Greene. Gina Valentine Byrum portrays her mother, PTA president Mrs. Greene. Ryhn smartly portrays that juxtaposition of growing up that we all must face; wanting to become your own person without defying your parents. It’s a tough role, but she makes it look easy. Likewise, Byrum is stern and collected, but malleable and redeemable as the would-be villain.

Ashton Byrum has charm and wit as the good-natured principal Mr. Hawkins. Mariah Warren is always enjoyable to watch, and her portrayal of Olivia Keating, as well as several smaller roles, is no exception. Jessica Cajina is sweet as Shelby, and her skills for dance are, in a word, fire. In fact, all the choreography by Amy Reynolds-Reed is dynamite and it heats up the already sweltering July night.

The orchestra is made up of Patrick Womack on percussion, Roger Owens on drums, Brian Belanus on guitar, Larry Moore on bass, Kirk Palmer on trumpet 1, Jay Wilkinson on trumpet 2, Martin King on reed 1, and Jennifer Rucker on reed 2.

The Prom has uncomfortable moments (chalk it up to growing pains) and beautiful moments. It’s not unlike high school in that way. It portrays a unique time of life that almost nobody wants to go back to, and yet we all have moments that we can recall fondly. It teaches an important message of acceptance, and it’s a shame that it wasn’t more of a success story on Broadway. Based on real-life events, The Prom gives us a chance to step into the shoes of someone we know, or someone we were, who felt misunderstood and outcast by their peers. It gives us a chance to redeem our own high school experience and reminds us that we all want the same things in life. We all want to find and experience love, and we all need the chance to dance.


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