Alyssa (Kathryn Kimble) and Emma (Kylie Chartier) Background: Shelby (Angelina Manfredi), Kaylee (Alysha Melkoun), Nick (Michael Mercado), Kevin (Michael Viveiros) Source: Bob Emerson

Review: 'The Prom' a Spectacular Show from The Community Players

Joe Siegel READ TIME: 3 MIN.

"The Prom" is a high-energy and heartfelt musical. The Community Players, finishing their 102nd season, have pulled out all the stops to deliver a spectacular show.

A quartet of Broadway actors – Dee Dee Allen (Jennifer Gillis), Barry Glickman (Mitchell Burns), Trent Oliver (Greg Gillis), and Angie (Giana Manzi-Hiniker), fed up with being branded as narcissists – take it upon themselves to help young Emma (Kylie Chartier) attend her Indiana high school prom with her girlfriend Alyssa (Kathryn Kimble).

A conservative parents group, led by Alyssa's closed-minded mother (Nancy Kimble), has opted to cancel the prom rather than to allow same-sex couples to attend.

"The Prom" is a tribute to the brave LGBTQ+ youth who are living their lives openly and fight the prejudice expressed by the adults around them. Emma and Alyssa are surrogates for every person who has been discriminated against, degraded, and made to feel unworthy of equal rights.

The play's depiction of hostility toward the LGBTQ+ community could not be more timely. In the past few years, politicians around the country have relentlessly targeted queer youth, especially those who are trans and gender non-conforming, with legislation designed to take their rights away.

The love and compassion shown by Dee Dee, Barry, Angie, and Trent are an indication that human decency still exists in a cruel and sometimes violent world.

Co-writers Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin, along with composer Matthew Sklar, satirize the self-absorbed nature of celebrities as well as the culture barrenness of small-town life. There are pointed references to Wal-Mart and Applebees.

Trent (Greg Gillis), Dee Dee (Jennifer Gillis), Mr. Hawkins (Michael Evora), Sheldon (Anthony DeRose), Barry (Mitchell Burns), Angie (Giana Manzi)
Source: Bob Emerson

Jennifer Gillis gives a dynamic comedic performance as Dee Dee, the legendary actress whose latest role was Eleanor Roosevelt. Dee Dee learns to put someone else's needs above her own for a change. Mitchell Burns' Barry is a saucy and flamboyant personality and befriends Emma. Burns is a pure delight as he expresses horror over the lack of amenities at the hotel where he and his colleagues are staying.

Chartier, making her stage debut, is an appealing and likable actress. She and Kathryn Kimble are convincing in their scenes together and share a warm chemistry. Their duet, "Dance With You," is a standout, as is the rousing closing song, "It's Time to Dance." I also enjoyed Michael Evora as Hawkins, the high school principal. Hawkins is a fundamentally decent man who supports Emma and has a sweet flirtation with Dee Dee.

Greg Gillis has a lot of funny moments as Trent, a former sitcom star who educates Emma's classmates about the absurdity of living their lives based on Biblical scripture ("Love Thy Neighbor").

Director Christopher Margadonna, who co-starred in last year's "Something Rotten," has done excellent work with the large ensemble. Julia Gillis, the daughter of Jennifer and Greg Gillis, served as the show's choreographer.

"The Prom" debuted in 2016 and won a Drama Desk award for Outstanding Musical. It was later adapted by Ryan Murphy ("Glee") for a 2020 Netflix production.

Even if you didn't have a good time at your own prom, you will certainly enjoy this one.

"The Prom" runs through April 21. The Community Players. Performances at Jenks Auditorium, 350 Division St., Pawtucket, RI. For tickets, visit

by Joe Siegel

Joe Siegel has written for a number of other GLBT publications, including In newsweekly and Options.

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