Student blogger Owen Fitzpatrick returns to give us his take on The Prom, which played April 26 – May 1 at The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts.
The last two Broadway Musicals at the Hanover Theatre have been nothing short of spectacular. The choreography brought each show to life as only Broadway can. The pageantry and high-tech LED screens of Anatasia were absolutely mesmerizing. The Prom had another type of pageantry, equally spell-binding with a modern story worthy of being told.
I’d like to address the family who noisily left with grimaces on your face after the first twenty minutes of the show. Part of me hopes that there was something unexpected demanding your attention, but your twisted faces vainly searching for support from those seated around you said otherwise. You saw inclusion and equality being celebrated and you chose “Indiana” over Emma. I imagine something about a gay teenager wanting the same opportunity as everyone else made you uncomfortable. Honestly, you are the people who needed to stay. Personal growth happens when we sit in the uncomfortable and examine it rather than turn our backs. Respectfully, you need some Zazz and I hope you find it one day.
Ironically, my own High School Junior Prom was the same weekend as the musical The Prom. My school pivoted and eliminated “The Grand March” where students would parade with their date for parents seated in rows in the gym before the actual event. It was a long-standing tradition that favored those with dates and caused major anxiety for anyone who doesn’t like to be the center of attention. Yes, a few students would walk with a fellow dateless friend and inevitable rumors would circulate about whether they were dating each other. This year, more kids attended without dates than any other year. Looking around, it was probably 50-50. There is no reason why dates are necessary for the Prom. Students should be allowed to make that decision without pressure. Parents who grew up in my small town or had older kids in a previous Grand March were upset that the tradition was eliminated, but they don’t deserve a seat at the decision-making table especially if the tradition was causing students distress. I don’t think attendance at the Prom would have been as high with the pressure of The Grand March hanging over my classmates.
Speaking your truth and being true to your authentic self is a common theme between these two shows. Both leading ladies knew who they were, yet needed help being seen. If I learned anything from these last two performances, it’s the self-awareness that comes in realizing that someone may need help amplifying their voice and the importance of giving them space to do exactly that.
There’s one more show in the 2021-2022 Broadway Series. I’m looking forward to seeing The Band’s Visit with my family.