Alliance Theatre kicks off its new season with The Prom

The Broadway hit-maker who debuted Tuck Everlasting at the Alliance returns with the world premiere of this musical comedy
The Prom Alliance Theatre
Broadway actress Caitlin Kinnunen plays high school student Emma.

Illustration by Heidi Gibb; Kinnunen photograph by Jimmy Ryan

After Broadway director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw helmed Tuck Everlasting on the Alliance Theatre’s stage in 2015, the musical quickly landed on Broadway—one of five such shows that he’s shepherded to the New York stage, including The Book of Mormon, Something Rotten!, and Aladdin. To open the Alliance’s new season, Nicholaw is reteaming with Aladdin collaborator Chad Beguelin (who is cowriting the book) for the world premiere of a new musical comedy, The Prom. And given the array of Broadway stars in The Prom’s cast, it seems the show could soon join Tuck Everlasting in New York.

The Prom’s plot revolves around the comedic chaos that consumes an Indiana town when the high school prom is canceled after a female student asks to take her girlfriend. When the story blows up nationally, a band of fading stage actors lands in town under the guise of dispensing social justice—and grabbing a few headlines for themselves.

“In New York people have asked, ‘Is that really relevant anymore?’ But every time we start doubting it, there’s another story in the paper,” says Nicholaw. “This year it was [Pennsylvania high school student Aniya Wolf], who got kicked out of her prom for wearing a tux. For us it’s about high school students finding their voices and being who they are. That’s timeless.”

Nicholaw and Beguelin on…

The Alliance
“The people are supportive, and they understand the process and what it’s like to do something new,” says Nicholaw (left). “It makes it a really great place to work.”

The artistic process
“We’ll be rewriting scenes and songs like crazy, throwing things out, putting new things in,” says Beguelin (right). “Inevitably everything you thought would work doesn’t, and everything you thought was terrible goes like gangbusters. You just never know until you’re in front of a paying audience.”

Staying sane before the premiere
“When you’re working with people you trust, smart people, you know you’re not in it alone,” says Beguelin. “And vodka helps. Lots of vodka!”