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The Musical "The Prom" Makes NJ Debut at the Axelrod PAC

TV and Broadway’s Vicki Lewis and John Scherer Lead Cast


Deal Park, NJ - The Axelrod Performing Arts Center will mount New Jersey’s first professional production of the Broadway musical, The Prom, beginning on May 5 and running through May 21. This new production is directed by Broadway actor and director Todd Buonopane (Broadway’s Spelling Bee, Grease, Chicago and Cinderella) and choreographed by Brooke Engen (Hairspray the film) with music direction by Michael Gilch.

Buonopane, making his Axelrod debut as director, is thrilled to be bringing The Prom to the Jersey Shore. “Not many shows have the ability to make you laugh till it hurts and then cry your eyes out,” he said. “The Prom does that. Add in a cast of Broadway vets and exciting up-and-comers, how could we go wrong? I love this show! I love this cast!”

What’s not to love? Leading the cast as Dee Dee Allen is TV star Vicki Lewis, known for NBC’s NewsRadio and Three Sisters and on Broadway in starring roles in Chicago, Damn Yankees and Anastasia alongside John Scherer (Broadway’s By Jeeves and Sunset Boulevard) as Barry Glickman. The company also includes NY theater favorites Emily


McNamara as Angie Dickinson, Richard E. Waits as Principal Hawkins, and Matt Hill as Trent Oliver.



Lewis and Scherer have shared the stage before in musicals such as Gypsy and Anything Goes at major regional houses around the country. “It’s a thrill to be reunited with Vicki Lewis onstage,” says Scherer. “She’s a brilliant comedian and singer and one of my closest friends. And to get to play these roles together in this hilarious and meaningful show is a dream come true!”


Artistic Director Andrew DePrisco is beyond pleased to be presenting this first professional NJ production. “The Axelrod PAC is the perfect venue for this feel-good musical!” he said. “It’s the kind of big song and dance show that our audiences adore. When the show ran on Broadway, it was the sleeper of the season…the hit no one expected. It’s a real musical for people who love the theater. With its big fat heart on its sleeve, it’s a hard show not to fall in love with.”

Frequently compared to Hairspray for its fun, upbeat score and life-affirming message, The Prom was a New York Times Critic’s Pick in 2018 when its theater reviewer proclaimed that the show “makes you believe in musical comedy again.”

Nominated for six Tony Awards, The Prom took home the trophy for Best Score for Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin as well as the Drama Desk Award for Best Musical. It was later made into a Hollywood film starring Meryl Streep, James Corden and Nicole Kidman.

The story of The Prom, written by Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin, traces the unscripted adventures of a quartet of Broadway has-beens who hop on a tour bus to infiltrate a small-town in Indiana with their New York values. There they meet high school student Emma Nolan, who has been banned from the school dance for wanting to attend with her girlfriend. Broadway enters stage center to save the day, and everyone learns some important lessons before the big finale.

The creative team at the Axelrod includes Lighting Designer Cameron Filepas, Scenic Designer Fred Sorrentino, Costume Designer Miranda Graves, Sound Designer Matt Feeney, Prop Designer Susan Bloir, Wig Designer Jason Hayes, Assistant Choreographer Lindsay Jorgensen, Production Stage Manager Kellian Frank and Company Manager Nate Riccio. The show is being produced by Andrew DePrisco.

The Axelrod production features Lillian Belle Doll as Emma Nolan and Emily Pellicchia as her prom date, Alyssa Green. The company includes a large singing and dancing ensemble including Kyle Javon Blocker, Christina Claire, Christie Dabreau, Markos Eugenis, Danny Feldman, Joshua Kring, Sealth Grover, Jillian Ann Lee, Amanda Leigh L

upacchino, Laura Renee Mehl, Lauren Rathbun, Quincy Southerland, Alexandra Tarsinov, Matt Walsh, Grace Wolf, Nikki Yarnell and Hunter Yocom.

As a professional regional theater, the Axelrod Performing Arts Center is committed to creating new musical theater productions for the Jersey Shore. Bringing together Broadway professionals and top New Jersey talent, the Axelrod is the only professional company on the Shore dedicated exclusively to musical theater. This new production of The Prom promises to be the must-see event of the season. Tickets for The Prom can be purchased online at www.axelrodartscenter.com

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