The Prom National Tour Musical Review

The national touring company of “The Prom” coming to Center Theatre Group / The Ahmanson Theatre August 9 to September 11, 2022.  Photo Credit: Deen van Meer
The national touring company of “The Prom” coming to Center Theatre Group / The Ahmanson Theatre August 9 to September 11, 2022. Photo Credit: Deen van Meer

Narcissistic Broadway stars Dee Dee Allen, Barry Glickman, and Angie Dickinson have been lambasted by critics, and they want to make a good name for themselves. To fix the negative publicity, they decided that it was best for them to help a small-town lesbian girl, Emma Nolan, go to her high school prom with her girlfriend. This is the story of The Prom, a musical with a national tour that landed in Downtown Los Angeles at Center Theatre Group / Ahmanson Theatre this month. The Prom is a jubilant time at the theatre with its festive cast and energetic dance choreography.

The Prom premiered on Broadway in 2018 and is based on the book by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin with music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, and directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw. It was later adapted into a Netflix film by director Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story). In the national tour version, Emma Nolan is played by Kaden Kearney and is from the small town of Edgewater, Indiana, who faces discrimination from classmates and adults.

The national touring company of “The Prom” coming to Center Theatre Group / The Ahmanson Theatre August 9 to September 11, 2022.  Photo Credit: Deen van Meer
The national touring company of “The Prom” coming to Center Theatre Group / The Ahmanson Theatre August 9 to September 11, 2022. Photo Credit: Deen van Meer

The actors playing the Broadway stars truly shine including Courtney Balan as Dee Dee Allen, Patrick Wetzel as Barry Glickman, Emily Borromeo as Angie Dickinson, and Bud Weber as Trent Oliver, esteemed Julliard graduate/cater waiter. Balan is a natural at playing the comedic diva, conveying a huge ego, charm and radiance all at once. Wetzel does a fabulous performance and can delight a crowd, especially during his rendition of “Barry Is Going to Prom” with his animated and enthusiastic song and dance number. It took a bit for me to get in the groove with Brent Weber as Trent Oliver, but once he performed “Love Thy Neighbor,” he absolutely shines with his voice and presence.

The dance numbers are really entertaining with the high school students thanks to their lively and dynamic movements, which look like something out of America’s Best Dance Crew. And speaking of the high school kids, Emma feels too awkward. Yes, the performer is supposed to play an awkward teenager, but the end result is a character who lacks any sort of charm. The only reason we’re rooting for them is that their life has been made difficult by their peers and adults.

Final Reaction

The Prom is an entertaining time at the musical theatre, and the performers playing the Broadway stars truly shine in their respective roles. The songs are upbeat and catchy, and the dance numbers are exhilarating. The national tour may not be able to match its other bigger musical peers in terms of production values, but it’s still able to convey its message and themes in the smaller production.

The Prom at Center Theatre Group / Ahmanson Theatre runs from August 9 through September 11, 2022. Tuesday through Friday performances are 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. No Monday performances. There is an additional student matinee performance at 2 p.m. on September 8 and there will be no 6:30 p.m. performance on September 11.

Tickets are available from $35 – $145, and prices are subject to change. They are available online at CenterTheatreGroup.org.

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