Regional Premiere Of THE PROM to be Presented At San Diego City College

Performances will run Fridays and Saturdays, April 19, 20, 26, and 27 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, April 25 at 11:00 a.m.; and Saturdays, April 20 and 27 at 2:00 p.m.

By: Mar. 22, 2024
Regional Premiere Of THE PROM to be Presented At San Diego City College
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The San Diego City College Dramatic Arts Program will present the regional premiere of the hit Broadway musical The Prom. The book and lyrics are by Chad Beguelin, the book is by Bob Martin, the music is by Matthew Sklar, and it is based on an original concept by Jack Viertel. Running in the Saville Theatre, tickets are available for Fridays and Saturdays, April 19, 20, 26, and 27 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, April 25 at 11:00 a.m.; and Saturdays, April 20 and 27 at 2:00 p.m.

The Prom is directed by drama professor and Co-Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department Dr. Katie Rodda. The choreography is by dance professor Kristin Arcidiacono, and music direction is by music professor Richard Dueñez Morrison. Arcidiacono and Rodda have collaborated on five other City College musicals, and Morrison is returning after providing musical direction for City College's productions of Urinetown and Cabaret.

The plot of The Prom is as follows: in small-town Indiana, Emma, a smart and brave young woman, plans to bring her girlfriend her high school prom. The town's homophobic parents cancel it, bringing unwanted attention to Emma. Meanwhile, four self-absorbed Broadway stars are in desperate need of a publicity boost, so when they hear of Emma's situation-and the press is involved-they know that it's time to shine a spotlight on the issue ... and themselves. On a mission, these four Broadway divas join forces with the courageous girl to discover love and acceptance. The Prom won the 2019 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Production.

Rodda selected The Prom to honor the queer community and to draw attention to the plight of many LGBTQ+ teenagers. According to data from the American Civil Liberties Union, in 2023, over 510 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in state legislatures across the United States. Education and health care-related bills flooded the system at unprecedented levels: there is a renewed push to ban access to gender-affirming health care for transgender youth, and there is a renewed focus on regulating curriculum in public schools, which include discussions around gender identity and sexuality. Many states are falling in line behind Florida in the controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill, which restricts in-school discussions about sexual orientation or gender identity. Several states have introduced "forced outing" bills, requiring teachers to alert parents when a student begins using a different name or pronouns, even without the student's consent.

Parts of The Prom are loosely based on a 2010 court case regarding Mississippi teenager Constance McMillen, a high school student who was forbidden to bring her girlfriend to her senior prom. The town's school board initially banned her from attending the prom, and then when this action was found to be a violation of her First Amendment rights, the parents from her conservative high school held a second "secret" prom, quietly organized without McMillen's knowledge. The prom she attended had only seven students in attendance. "High school is a difficult time," Rodda says, "and it's rough enough going through all the changes that happen to young people without hatred complicating things. I feel for Emma and for all of the queer kids who encounter such fear and resistance as they grapple with their own self-expression. I am in awe of the LGBTQ+ youth who are fearlessly out, who proudly claim their gender identity and sexual orientation, and The Prom celebrates them."

Despite its challenging themes, there is a lot of humor in The Prom. Rodda says, "In addition to its being an emotional story with some very heavy ideas, it's also really funny." Many people might be familiar with the 2020 Netflix version of The Prom, starring Meryl Streep and James Corden. Rodda's quibble with that production is that it placed most of the attention on the four New Yorkers. "It's a story about a queer teenager," she states, "and I feel the focus should be on that aspect of the story. The Broadway celebrities' appearance in the show is absolutely crucial to the story, but it's not the most significant part of it."

Many of the cast members of City College's cast of The Prom identify as LBGTQ+, and they are grateful for the acceptance and support they receive from their fellow cast members. "They're excited to tell this story," says Rodda.

The cast includes Noah Baca (Kevin), Talia Baird (Shelby), Francisco Beltrán (Sheldon), Claudia Cárdenas (Angie), Savannah Comer (Alyssa), Presley Cooper (Kaylee), Isabella Fernandes (Emma), Talia Fossa (ensemble), Michael Franklin (Principal Hawkins), Anthony Gonsalves (ensemble), Alfredo Horta (Nick), Grace Japheth (Dee Dee), Jennifer Jones (Mrs. Green), Jessica Lewis (ensemble), Abby Lopez (ensemble), Jacob Lopez (ensemble), Dan Mason (Barry), Shannon McGraw (ensemble), Jerry Rodriguez (Trent), and Maddi Teel (ensemble).

The Stage Manager is City College student Nani Oba, Scenic Design is by Duane Gardella, and Costume Design is by Rebecca Rankin. Both are professors at City College. Lighting and Sound Design are by Mike McCullock.

Face masks are optional but recommended on the City College campus.

CONTENT WARNING

Please be advised that the play features adult themes and language.

Tickets: $8 - 20: https://citycollegetheatre.com/

PERFORMANCE DETAILS

WHAT: The Prom

WHEN: Fridays, April 19 and 26, 7:30 p.m.

Saturdays, April 20 and 27, 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 25 at 11:00 a.m. (all tickets $8)

WHERE: San Diego City College Saville Theatre, 14th St. & C St., San Diego, CA 92101




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