If you know me, you’ll know that I’m always here for new musical theatre. I was lucky enough to see Prom Queen on its opening night at the Segal Centre tonight, and I’m pretty sure I cried all the makeup off my face. Don’t worry, it was definitely happy crying.
Prom Queen is a brand new musical by songwriting team Colleen Dauncey (composer) and Akiva Romer-Segal (lyricist) and playwright Kent Staines. It tells the true story of teenager Marc Hall who tries to take his boyfriend to prom and is banned by his Catholic school. Led by the incredibly talented Alessandro Costantini, this show features broad themes such as discrimination, self-acceptance, and the freedom to express yourself. The whole company was simply stunning, but Costantini and his bright blue hair really stole the show.
The score is filled with upbeat, fun, and sometimes corny tunes. Although they often rely on cliches (we get it, a starry sky makes us all feel “infinitely small”), the songs gave the story heart and were extremely well-placed in order to make the audience feel all of the emotions. ALL. OF. THEM.
What came as a total surprise to me was the choreography! It’s incredibly complex and fast-paced, and the dancers move in perfect synchronicity and so fast that they basically blurred my vision. Choreographer Sean Cheesman has really been around, working with people like Michael Jackson, Prince, Tina Turner, and Britney Spears. That’s quite a resume. Marcia Kash’s direction was clean cut, with tight transitions and a clear but dynamic focal point. You may remember her from last year’s The Secret Annex at the Segal.
There isn’t much to complain about, except for a subplot involving a straight couple at the high school getting back together. Classic bad boy with a heart of gold, who’s consistently called a “man-whore” (?!) and literally has a lyric that basically says, “she stopped taking my calls, but she never told me whyyyyyyy.” Another headline to add to the Guy Demands To Know Why Girl Refuses To Date Him category, and another girl who has given up on boys but eventually softens as said boy pursues her. Cringe.
All in all, it was a super fun night, especially with the real Marc Hall coming onstage at the end. I did NOT see that coming.
Prom Queen is running at the Segal Centre until November 20. The tickets are a bit pricey, but honestly totally worth it: $32 for students, $40 under 30, $58.50 for seniors, and $65 regular. Get your tickets soon, because they’re going fast.