What Can You Expect When You Go to THE PROM?

Gary Panetta of The Peoria Journal Star wrote an article about what to expect when you attend THE AWESOME 80s PROM.  Here is a copy in case you missed it.

Backstage:  Are you ready to party like it’s the 1980’s?

 By GARY PANETTA (gpanetta@pjstar.com)

Journal Star

Posted Aug 01, 2010 @ 01:01 AM

Get ready to do your best moonwalk.

“The Awesome 80s Prom” is coming.

The show, which runs 6:30 p.m. Aug. 6 and 7 at The Waterhouse, is less like a conventional stage show and more like a nonstop party.

Audience members are encouraged to don their best 1980s retro look as they dance, drink, joke and otherwise interact with a cast of 16 local performers who are trying their hardest to simulate an authentic 1989-style prom at the appropriately named Wanaget High School.

There are speeches, prom nominations, a coronation, announcements, scads of 1980s era music and lots of improvised comedy put on by the usual round of high school stock characters: The Nerd (Tyler McIntyre), the Football Player (Brandon Cheney), the Spaz (Lindsey Cheney), the Drama Queen (Nyk Sutter), the Head Cheerleader (Brit Christensen), the Class President (Kip Burroughs) and so forth.

The show is directed and produced by Wade Dooley and Andrew Driscoll. Driscoll is the owner of The Waterhouse Inc., located on 619 SW Water St., Suite B. Dooley is a former community theater player who is trying to build a professional career in New York City, where he works as a swing actor in an off-Broadway production of the show, which has been running there for about five years.

The rights for “The Awesome 80s Prom” recently became available, and Dooley thought the show would work well in Peoria – a reasonable gamble, considering that Lite Rock 107 has been broadcasting its own Awesome ’80s Weekend for what seems like an eternity.

In any event, “The Awesome 80s Prom” is a big departure from typical musical theater where audience members are simply expected to sit and silently watch. Participation is crucial and the show often works best when people attend in groups. In fact, in New York City “The Awesome 80s Prom” often attracts bachelorette parties or people celebrating birthdays.

“It’s something fun and very different to go to,” Dooley said. “This isn’t a typical theater experience. At this show, you’re encouraged to stand up and dance. In New York most of the people stand the whole time and they’re dancing and interacting with the characters. The more you interact, the better the show is – because the story is going on around you and you have to be observant and pay attention to what’s happening.”

Admission is $35 and includes dinner. A full bar is available. With ticket sales booming, Driscoll decided to add the show as a regular offering on the last Friday of each month on an open-ended run.

Dooley’s one-man show

Most people know Wade Dooley for his singing and guitar strumming as a kid – when the young prodigy shared the stage with Shania Twain and opened for Pam Tillis.

However, he’s done a lot since then. Most notably is “The Diary of a Dancer,” which ran recently at the 2010 Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C. Dooley wrote and starred in the one-man show, in which he plays an 85-year-old woman and former dancer named Mary Shennanbragger from Moonshine City, Ill., who never quite made it as a star in New York City.

The script and Dooley’s performance have won praise from critics.

Critic Kate Mattingly wrote in her blog:

“The script is smart – some lines are stunning, others more raunchy – and takes us on a journey through Shennanbragger’s highlights and mishaps. Dooley’s transformation into someone decades older and a different gender is so convincing that I had a hard time believing that the guy who came out to say hello after the show was the same as the performer.”

Gary Panetta is the fine arts columnist and a critic for the Journal Star. He can be reached at 686-3132 or gpanetta@pjstar.com.

If you go:

– What: An interactive, mock-prom set in 1989 at Wanaget High School. Directed and produced by Wade Dooley and Andrew Driscoll.

– When: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 6 and 7. The show also will be offered on Friday nights of each month on an open-ended run.

– Where: The Waterhouse, 619 SW Water St., Suite B.

– Tickets: $35. Includes dinner, tax and gratuity. A full bar is available. Call 494-9100 for information or go to www.peoriacabarettheatre.com

Copyright 2010 pjstar.com. Some rights reserved

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