(DEAL PARK, NJ) -- The Axelrod Performing Arts Center is presenting New Jersey's first professional production of the Broadway musical, The Prom, now through May 21. This new production is directed by Broadway actor and director Todd Buonopane (Broadway's Spelling Bee, Grease, Chicago, and Cinderella) and choreographed by Brooke Engen (Hairspray the film) with music direction by Michael Gilch. Photographer John Posada was on hand to take photos.
The story of The Prom traces the unscripted adventures of a quartet of Broadway has-beens who hop on a tour bus to infiltrate a small-town in Indiana with their New York values. There they meet high school student Emma Nolan, who has been banned from the school dance for wanting to attend with her girlfriend. Broadway enters stage center to save the day, and everyone learns some important lessons before the big finale.
Leading the cast as Dee Dee Allen is TV star Vicki Lewis, known for NBC’s NewsRadio and Three Sisters and on Broadway in starring roles in Chicago, Damn Yankees and Anastasia alongside John Scherer (Broadway’s By Jeeves and Sunset Boulevard) as Barry Glickman. The company also includes NY theater favorites Emily McNamara as Angie Dickinson, Richard E. Waits as Principal Hawkins, and Matt Hill as Trent Oliver.
Lewis and Scherer have shared the stage before in musicals such as Gypsy and Anything Goes at major regional houses around the country. “It’s a thrill to be reunited with Vicki Lewis onstage,” says Scherer. “She’s a brilliant comedian and singer and one of my closest friends. And to get to play these roles together in this hilarious and meaningful show is a dream come true!”
Frequently compared to Hairspray for its fun, upbeat score and life-affirming message, The Prom was a New York Times Critic’s Pick in 2018 when its theater reviewer proclaimed that the show “makes you believe in musical comedy again.”
Artistic Director Andrew DePrisco is beyond pleased to be presenting this first professional NJ production. “The Axelrod PAC is the perfect venue for this feel-good musical!” he said. “It’s the kind of big song and dance show that our audiences adore. When the show ran on Broadway, it was the sleeper of the season…the hit no one expected. It’s a real musical for people who love the theater. With its big fat heart on its sleeve, it’s a hard show not to fall in love with.”
Buonopane, making his Axelrod debut as director, is thrilled to be bringing The Prom to the Jersey Shore. “Not many shows have the ability to make you laugh till it hurts and then cry your eyes out,” he said. “The Prom does that. Add in a cast of Broadway vets and exciting up-and-comers, how could we go wrong? I love this show! I love this cast!”
Nominated for six Tony Awards, The Prom, with a highly praised score by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin and a book by Beguelin and Bob Martin, won the Drama Desk Award for Best Musical. It was later made into a Hollywood film starring Meryl Streep, James Corden and Nicole Kidman.
The Axelrod production also features Lillian Belle Doll as Emma Nolan and Emily Pellicchia as her prom date, Alyssa Green. The company includes a large singing and dancing ensemble including Kyle Javon Blocker, Christina Claire, Christie Dabreau, Markos Eugenis, Danny Feldman, Joshua Kring, Sealth Grover, Jillian Ann Lee, Amanda Leigh Lupacchino, Laura Renee Mehl, Lauren Rathbun, Quincy Southerland, Alexandra Tarsinov, Matt Walsh, Grace Wolf, Nikki Yarnell and Hunter Yocom.
The creative team includes lighting designer Cameron Filepas, scenic designer Fred Sorrentino, costume designer Miranda Graves, sound designer Matt Feeney, prop designer Susan Bloir, wig designer Jason Hayes, assistant choreographer Lindsay Jorgensen, production stage manager Kellian Frank and company manager Nate Riccio. The show is being produced by Andrew DePrisco.
Tickets for The Prom can be purchased online at www.axelrodartscenter.com
Here are more photos from the production.
Axelrod Performing Arts Center produces its own professionally staged musicals and ballets for the Jersey Shore in collaboration with Broadway directors, choreographers, and designers, showcasing professional actors, dancers and singers.
John Posada is a New Jersey based photographer specializing in live theatre and music performances. For more than 10 years, John has photographed live music events where he mastered the techniques of timing and capturing fast moving action under challenging lighting conditions to capture that perfect moment that tells a story in a single image. Currently, John has photographed over 110 productions for over 70 different theatres and venues. Click here for John's website.