Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Connecticut and the Berkshires

The Prom
Playhouse on Park
Review by Zander Opper

Also see Fred's review of A Body of Water: A Play in Three Days

Lucy D'Addario and Kendyl Grace Davis
Photo by Amanda Forker
The Prom, the 2018 Broadway musical by Chad Beguelin (book and lyrics), Bob Martin (book), and Matthew Sklar (music), is currently being given a delightful production at Playhouse on Park. Focusing on a group of narcissistic Broadway stars who want to get good publicity by supporting a cause, the musical shows how they attempt to help Emma (the wonderful Lucy D'Addario), a lesbian high school student whose prom has been cancelled because she wants to take her girlfriend to it, and how their "help" results in causing more trouble than anything else. The Prom is a very funny show, but it has underpinnings of genuine emotion and self-acceptance

What really works in this production is the super cast of performers who bring the characters to life. In addition to D'Addario, there are also strong performances by Susan Haefner, Zachary Kropp, Carolyn Burke, and, especially, Benjamin Howes, as the group of Broadway actors. Along with the fine cast, the direction and choreography by Robert Mintz keep the musical happily spinning along. This production is a real winner and you will definitely want to join in the festivities.

As the musical begins, Dee Dee Allen (Haefner) and Barry Glickman (Howes) have just opened in a one-performance flop musical and they are desperate to fight the negative publicity that they only care about themselves. With the help of Trent (Kropp) and Angie (Burke), two fellow Broadway performers, they seize upon Emma's dilemma of having her prom cancelled and they sweep in with pickets and a lot of bravado, which hurts more than helps the situation. There are a number of unexpected twists and turns, with plenty of ups and downs, as well.

Mintz has staged The Prom on a mostly empty stage, with various set pieces brought on by the actors (scenic design nicely done by Erin Kiernan). The director also has a spectacular costume designer in Lisa Steier, whose designs are truly sensational, and there is atmospheric and effective lighting by Aaron Hochheiser.

Haefner, whom I saw give a terrific performance as Rosemary Clooney in Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical, shows a whole other side of herself here as Dee Dee, complete with a powerful belt and the hilarious ability to seem so self-absorbed that she doesn't understand that she is doing anything wrong. Also scoring is Zachary Kropp as Trent, who is great singing "Love Thy Neighbor," and Carolyn Burke as Angie, who gets the biggest laugh of the evening right before she triumphs with a Bob Fosse-style production number, "Zazz."

As Emma, Lucy D'Addario is the real heart and soul of the production. She is enormously sympathetic, with a terrific singing voice, particularly in the songs "Breathe" and "Unruly Heart," and one can't help rooting for her from beginning to end. In other significant parts, Cole Campbell does excellent work as high school principal Mr. Hawkins, as does Kendyl Grace Davis as Alyssa Greene, Emma's hesitant girlfriend.

Barry Glickman is as self-absorbed as the rest of the group of Broadway characters in the show, but Benjamin Howes is truly touching in his second act solo, "Barry Is Going to the Prom." For any audience member who never got to enjoy their prom because of their sexual orientation or identity, this song, especially as performed by the fantastic Howes, hits home and can bring tears to one's eyes.

The Prom is a show that wants to be a great deal of fun in the midst of Emma's dilemma, and this production definitely delivers, with plenty of ebullience and enthusiastic group numbers. The score sounds fantastic as played by the terrific offstage band, led by the masterful music director Kevin Barlowski, and the entire cast is bursting with talent. A trip to The Prom at Playhouse on Park is highly recommended and don't be surprised if it tugs at more than a few heartstrings.

The Prom runs through August 18, 2024, at Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Rd, West Hartford CT. For more information, please visit