New Musical 'The Prom' Delightful In Atlanta

You might wince at the prospect of a group of Broadway egotists landing in a conservative town to fight for a teen lesbian to bring her date to the prom — but it turns out to be a happy merging of disparate worlds in “The Prom,” a loopy, loving and joyous musical receiving its world premiere at Atlanta’s Alliance Theater. Think “Fun Home” meets “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

“Drowsy” co-creator Bob Martin co-scripted this very funny, tenderhearted show with Chad Beguelin (“Elf,” “Aladdin”), once again tapping into the power of positive showtunes — and the ways they can inspire, energize and comfort. Director Casey Nicholaw (“Aladdin,” “Something Rotten!”), who helped bring a balance of sweet Broadway aspiration to “South Park” attitude in “The Book of Mormon,” corrals a crackerjack cast that mixes outrageous ham with schmaltz. Don’t be surprised if “The Prom” gets a Broadway corsage.

A quartet of “bloated relics of the theater,” desperate to be more likable, try to change their image by fighting against “a little injustice that we can drive to.” This self-obsessed troupe is led by diva Dee Dee (Beth Leavel, pulling out more stops than Dorothy Loudon in her prime), her flamboyant co-star Barry (Brooks Ashmanskas, “gayer than a box of wigs”), forever-chorine Angie (Angie Schworer); Juilliard fave-turned-waiter Trent (Christopher Sieber) and publicist Sheldon (Josh Lamon), who might not deliver Jimmy Fallon but can book a monster truck rally.

The proceedings are propelled by Nicholaw’s energetic and witty dances, plus a pleasing score by Matthew Sklar (with Beguelin supplying the bright lyrics) that refresh showtune templates with nods to Kander & Ebb, Stephen Schwartz and Jerry Herman.


ReviewsFrank RizzoVariety