Beth Leavel, Casey Nicholaw, and More on Finding the Heart in the Absurdity of The Prom | Playbill

Video Beth Leavel, Casey Nicholaw, and More on Finding the Heart in the Absurdity of The Prom
The new musical comedy begins performances on Broadway October 23.

The new musical comedy The Prom explores what happens when big Broadway personalities clash with a small Midwest town. Coming off a flop show, a group of performers find a new cause to keep their names on everybody’s lips: a Midwestern high schooler barred from attending her own prom because she wanted to bring her girlfriend.

Worlds collide, hilarity ensues, and everyone gets a lesson in acceptance with the help of song and dance.

“We loved the fact that there’s a political story—a real story—at the heart of the show, but there’s this absurd comic shell around it,” says book writer Bob Martin in the video above.

As director Casey Nicholaw explains, the heart of the story lies with Emma and Alyssa, the young lesbian couple thrust into the spotlight (played by Caitlin Kinnunen and Isabelle McCalla). As the two students navigate their own relationship—a tricky thing for any queer teen—adult forces magnify their plight from both sides. The PTA deems their actions immoral; the eccentric Broadway crew want to make them faces of social injustice.

For all parties involved, though, one thing remained true: it was necessary to present them as honestly as possible, instead of dividing them between good and bad sides. “They’re not stereotypes of who you think these people are,” actor Michael Potts says. “They’re human beings with hearts and real concerns who have to learn how to live together and accept each other’s differences.”

As real Tony Award winner Beth Leavel, who plays fake Tony Award winner Dee Dee Allen says, “There’s never a bad time for a show about listening, loving, and tolerance.”

The Prom, by Martin, Chad Beguelin, and Matthew Sklar, begins October 23 at the Longacre Theatre. Opening night is set for November 15.

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