Sure, it’s mid-autumn. But Staples High School is putting on a prom.
And the entire town is invited.
‘The Prom” is Staples Players’ fall musical. It’s a hilarious, clever, dance-filled show with great music, high energy, and an important message delivered in a delightful way, without an ounce of preachiness.
The young actors, dancers and musicians are having a great time. Their only concern is that theater-goers are unfamiliar with “The Prom.” (It was a Broadway Drama Desk Award winner for Best Musical, and a Netflix film starring Meryl Streep, James Corden and Nicole Kidman, but for some reason people don’t recall the easy-to-remember name.)
Henry Carson (center) and “The Prom” ensemble.
Players had a similar situation last spring, with “Twelfth Night.” After the first week, word-of-mouth inspired a rush for tickets. Soon, they were sold out.
“The Prom” follows 4 fading Broadway actors. They head to a conservative Indiana town to help a lesbian student forbidden from bringing her girlfriend to a dance. They go for the wrong reasons, but along the way learn important life lessons.
The show — based on a true Mississippi story — “appeals to everyone,” says co-director David Roth.
“It’s a great show to take your kids to. It’s all about inclusion, compassion and love.”
“Plus, it’s very, very funny.”
“The Prom” recently made headlines when an Illinois school postponed the show (scheduled for next April) because, the superintendent said, “the building is not ready to handle the amount of negative attention that would be put on the kids” for taking part in the musical.
Following an uproar, the district backed down. The show will go on.
Nothing close to that has happened in Westport. Everyone involved in “The Prom” embraces it.
“Our kids were talking about that Illinois story,” Roth says. “A lot of them say they’re so thankful to live here, and not in that environment. Players is their safe space. They really understand what’s going on.”
Yusef Abudullah, and the ensemble. (All photos/Kerry Long)
Several actors say this is their favorite show ever at Staples. The cast is diverse, with both familiar names and students stepping into larger roles. The freshman class has brought “great energy” to Players, Roth notes.
“The Prom” is almost here. Opening night for the 2-week run is Friday, November 10.
And no one has to worry about a date. Bring whoever you want!
(“The Prom” performances are November 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m., with matinees November 12 and 18 at 3 p.m. Click here for tickets, the cast list and more information.
(Players will raise money at the show for the Westport Public Schools Pride Coalition, to create a mural and install a bench celebrating Staples’ LGBTQ+ community. A block of seats has been set aside for the November 18 matinee, for members of the LGBTQ+ community, their allies, families and advocacy groups to enjoy the show together. Click here for special tickets.)