Chaos and confetti ensue when big-city stars vapidly pursue a social cause in the Midwest. Closing out their 50th season is the CM Performing Arts Center’s production of the Long Island premiere of “The Prom.”
Directed by Alyse Arpino and Patrick Campbell, “The Prom” is a fast-moving and delightfully diva and dig-filled romp through a classic clash of town and country folk.
A quintet of New York Broadway denizens are played with effortless chemistry and belly-laugh quality by Christina D’Orta Muens (Dee Dee Allen), Joe Kassner (Barry Glickman), Ronnie Green (Trent Oliver), John Mazzarella (Sheldon Saperstein), and DeAnna Feldmann (Angie Dickinson).
As fish out of their Perrier water, the classic show biz liberals descend upon a conservative, small Indiana town to feign support for a high school lesbian being banned from prom and gain social justice points to bolster their images with activism.
With such tight pacing, the core group deftly transitioned from one narcissist’s breakdown to another with uproarious inflections and affectations. Ronnie Green, who played the boastful Juilliard graduate, created an ingratiating character who inspired a compassionate pity for his need to extol his alma mater at every turn.
Green confidently pulled off the part with highbrow tendencies and a court jester’s naïve capacity for comedy.
Kassner’s Glickman was borne out of the sequins and ego, but with a heart that grows bigger than the Grinch’s at his connection with the suffering sapphic.
Impressively, Kassner carved out an earnest development from aging and self-centered star to a freshly insecure and paternal figure who has found a true inspiration in the young Emma.
By the end of the of the second act, when Kassner performs “Barry is Going to Prom,” he manages to steal the thunder of the core character and makes the prom about fulfilling his character’s stifled adolescent dreams.
Cheering for Barry comes so naturally to the audience because of Kassner’s sincere portrayal of an adult with resurfaced, but perhaps finally healed scars.
D’Orta Muens’s tremendous voice was on full display as Dee Dee Allen, but truly shone as a comedic actress with perfect alternating restraint and razzle-dazzle as her character learns to do for others.
The impetus for that transformation is Dennis Creighton’s Mr. Hawkins. Creighton’s portrayal of the moral center of the show was heroic and kind, but also inspiring in his wide-eyed admiration of the stage.
Katy Trunz as Emma Nolan and Rebecca Martowski as Alyssa Greene, the reticent poster LGBT couple, had sensitivity to the roles that kept the production honest to the high school experience, but with enough gravitas and nuance to engage an older audience.
Choreographer Melissa Rapelje’s direction was unified and dazzling while showcasing the strengths of each number in lyrical or fast-paced machinations.
The ensemble of high school students was fluid and intuitive with one another in their choreography, and the result was a feast for the eyes.
Lighting director Christopher Creevy created wonderful and dimensional ambiance to contrast with the big Broadway shine of the New York sets and the cooler and shaded vibes of Indiana.
Written in 2018, “The Prom,” for all the light-hearted glitter on the surface of its premise, is a much-needed and apropos indictment of casual activism, and CMPAC’s production delivers on the serious commentary in the way only a rousing musical can.
Read the Review Here: https://www.suffolkcountynews.net/stories/a-memorable-prom-night,92455?