Last year, a friend of mine forwarded me an email about a potential opportunity to be part of a Broadway show. I was curious so I agreed to meet with a producer to hear more about it. Little did I know that one simple meeting would change my life forever.
I fell in love with THE PROM the moment I heard that it was “a new musical comedy about big Broadway stars, a small town LBGTQ girl, and a love that unites them all”. The more I learned about the story, the more I wanted to be part of it! After I said YES to THE PROM, things moved very quickly. I met one of the lead producers, contracts were drawn and BOOM! I was a co-producer! Things didn’t seem real until the night I went to invited dress rehearsal. There I was, a mom from Austin, Texas, sitting among big time producers and actors from Broadway. Suddenly, I hear “Here she is, our latest addition to the team, welcome!”. Once my heart started beating again, I fell right into the family. I used to think that Broadway people weren’t nice, but I learned that to be very much untrue. On opening night, Casey Nicholaw stepped on stage before curtain call and introduced our 13 Broadway debuts! One by one they were recognized by their choreographer and director, who by the way, has to be the nicest man alive!
In the months since opening night, I learned a few other things. Swing are amazing, every single person in the show is important, people on Broadway work non-stop, and it takes a village to make a show happen! I think this is why everyone is so nice, you need to get along to make a show special, and THE PROM sure is one special show!
On Tuesday this week, four of my colleagues in this adventure, all women from Austin, sat together, holding each other as we watched the Tony Award Nominations live. We cheered with every nom, we cried with every nom, and at the end, we looked at each other in disbelief and hugged. Surround yourself with people that can give you this type of unconditional love and support because life is a journey that is a lot more pleasant with amazing company.
So here I am, a Tony Award Nominated Producer with THE PROM. Local TV interview tomorrow, press events the next few weeks and a big ceremony coming up in June. The journey has been like a dream, one I don’t want to awaken from until June 10th!
However, like Dee Dee Allen says, this “is not about me” but it’s all about THE PROM, an honest show that has earned 7 Tony Award Nominations including Best Musical this season. A show that sips into your soul with a charming group of characters, a fun book, an amazing score, choreography that is sharp and energetic, and a story that is not only true but beautiful and heartwarming.
THE PROM is magical in many ways. It is a story that can change people’s lives, a show that, with a lot of humor, tells us that we need to be more tolerant and accept others for who they are. Isn’t that what theatre is supposed to do? Be a reflection of society and show us the way to a better tomorrow? I took a group of students to see THE PROM this past Saturday and I saw the effect the show had in some of the girls in the group. I saw tears coming down their faces when Emma (Caitlin Kinnunen) finds herself alone at the fake prom, heartbroken and betrayed by her peers. I saw them celebrate when Trent (Chris Sieber) starts to change people’s minds in the small town of Edgewater. Indiana while they all sing “Love Thy Neighbor”. Finally, they rose to their feet in an outburst of joy with the final kiss. I asked them what they thought about the story and there was a consistent theme in their responses “representation, love, acceptance and tolerance”. My heart was filled with proud and love because the message made it to those that listened!
As I get ready to fly on top of my cloud to the Tony Awards, I can’t but reflect on what a lucky woman I am. I get to be a part of one of the best musicals on Broadway this season and share it with many people that see themselves reflected in Emma and Alyssa’s love story.
Have you seen THE PROM? If not, what are you waiting for? “It’s time to dance!”
To be continued on June 10th!
THE PROM received 7 Tony Award Nominations: Best Musical, Best Director (Casey Nicholaw), Best Leading Actress (Beth Leavel), Best Leading Actress (Caitlin Kinnunen), Best Leading Actor (Brooks Ashmanskas), Best Score (Mathew Sklar and Chad Beguelin), and Best Book (Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin).