The Grand Theatre High School Project Presents PROM QUEEN: THE MUSICAL

The Grand Theatre High School Project will celebrate a first for the renowned mentorship program when it brings a new Canadian musical to stage with PROM QUEEN: The Musical. Directed by Dennis Garnhum, this award-winning production tells the true story of Marc Hall, the Ontario teenager who took his school board to court when it refused to let him attend prom with his boyfriend. PROM QUEEN: The Musical runs for 12 performances only on the Spriet Stage from September 18 to 29, 2018.

In 2002, Marc Hall was a 17-year-old blue-haired high school student living in Oshawa, Ontario. After being denied permission to bring his same-sex date to prom, Hall took the Durham Catholic School Board to court, making international headlines and setting a historical precedent for the LGBTQ2+ community.

"PROM QUEEN celebrates the power of young people standing proudly for everything they know themselves to be," said Dennis Garnhum, Grand Theatre Artistic Director. "With this High School Project, we connect closely to an important part of Ontario's history as we celebrate the power of young, confident minds and of a community coming together to inspire change."

From renowned producer Mary Young Leckie, whose recent work includes the award-winning film Maudie starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, and with book by Kent Staines and original music and lyrics by rising stars and song-writing duo Colleen Dauncey and Akiva Romer-Segal, PROM QUEEN is an irresistible new musical for the next generation and beyond. The Grand's High School Project production, featuring 50 students onstage and another 30 behind the scenes, represents the first time this musical will be brought to stage by high school students, bringing an authentic voice to a remarkable story.

"PROM QUEEN'S journey from the first glimmer of an idea for a musical to the High School Project's production at the incredible Grand Theatre feels like a bit of a magic carpet ride," said Ms. Leckie. "From its earliest beginnings in the front hall of my home with Colleen and Akiva performing The Louder We Get and Mother Mary for a mesmerized Kent Staines and I, this play has had some very special fairy dust lifting us up. The creative team and Marc Hall are over the moon excited to see what the kids of London, Ontario have in store for us. The future is brilliant for PROM QUEEN - expect a big announcement with more great things to come this fall!"

PROM QUEEN, originally developed through Sheridan College's Canadian Music Theatre Project (Come From Away), had its world premiere at Montreal's Segal Centre for the Performing Arts in a held-over run in 2016, was presented at New York's National Alliance of Musical Theatre's New Musical Festival in 2017, and most recently took the stage in a public workshop at The Other Palace in London, England's West End with an audience that included Andrew Lloyd Webber.

"I am just absolutely thrilled that PROM QUEEN is being produced by the Grand Theatre and the High School Project," said Marc Hall. "I've received a flurry of messages from the students during these last couple weeks of rehearsals - they are so keen, excited, motivated - and many have said the story and themes in PROM QUEEN are really resonating with them. It makes me emotional just thinking about it - this is what PROM QUEEN is all about for me. To tell the story in such a beautiful way is incredible and I can't think of a better group to put on the musical than those who were around the same age as I was when the prom ordeal happened. I know they are going to be absolutely incredible. My family and I cannot wait for opening night!"

An acclaimed mentorship program unique in North America, the HSP began in 1998 with West Side Story. Since then, the Grand Theatre has produced 34 High School Projects. In 2016, the program celebrated its 20th anniversary with the best-selling Les Misérables School Edition, which was followed by the hit production of Evita last year.

The HSP offers an exceptional opportunity for students to receive education and training in the working environment of a professional theatre, at no cost to the participants. High school students from the London area are mentored by professional artists and coaches in all departments (acting, stage management, props, wardrobe, scenic art, sound, lighting, orchestra, and photography), culminating in a production on the Grand's Spriet Stage. The initiative provides leadership, creative, and communication skills that serve these students on and off stage - in every area of their lives.

The Grand Theatre gratefully acknowledges PROM QUEEN Title Sponsor Western Fair District, Make a Difference Community Pillar Partner Libro Credit Union, and Program Sponsors Thames Valley District School Board and Westminster College Foundation.

Regular tickets are $35to $40, and $25 for students 17 and under. Tickets are available at www.grandtheatre.com, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street. Prices include HST and are subject to change.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director
Deb Harvey, the Grand is a leading cultural hub located in the heart of downtown London, Ontario. The Grand offers diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe through collaborations with national and international performing arts organizations and is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original stories through COMPASS New Play Development program. The Grand supports educational programming with The High School Project, the only program of its kind in North America, and 100 Schools, a community initiative that brings professional theatre to London-area schools at no cost. The Grand's season runs from September to May.

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