PARK CITY — Walk the red carpet, and join The Egyptian Theatre Company for The Awesome 80’s Prom. This improv-driven show takes us all back to 1989, where we can experience prom in all its glory. During the course of the evening, each character makes their entrance, the candidates for King and Queen are announced, and the drama of any high school prom unfurls. Audience members are a part of the action, and audience members are encouraged to the play the part by dressing up, dancing, and interacting with the characters in order to take full advantage of the evening.
The Awesome 80’s Prom has the feel of a John Hughes movie, or maybe a cross between The Wedding Singer (because of the music) and Tony and Tina’s Wedding (because of the format of the show).
At the start of the evening all of the characters and candidates for Prom King and Queen are introduced. The rest of night alternates between choreographed numbers, and “mingling time” where the audience members and actors dance.
To be perfectly honest, as an audience member there’s a lot of sitting around and watching nothing. Especially if you don’t want to dance. The evening was literally Intro > Dance Number > Mingle with characters > Dance Number > Mingle > Dance > Announce Prom King/Queen.
The costumes are perfectly gaudy and awful, with all the sugar and pop that is the 80’s. Choreography (by Tanya Taylor) was great, and every dancer, regardless of their skill, enjoyed the dancing which made me enjoy the dancing. It didn’t have to be perfect, because it was too fun for us to care.
From Missy Martin (Marianna Armitstead), the president of the prom committee, to Whitley Whitaker (Carianne H. Jones), the head cheerleader, and even To Ken (Seth Barney), the foreign exchange student. All the stereotypes are there, and in full-form.
On a technical note, sound guys – the volume is WAY too loud. As I looked around, I noticed a bout half the audience plugging their ears. We’re here to enjoy! Please don’t deafen us!
The senior citizens that I observed didn’t crack a smile, and mostly plugged their ears the whole night. The families with young children left the theatre. I think the younger generations will miss about half of the pop-culture references. Parents may want to be warned: one song (“Pour Some Sugar On Me”) was choreographed like a Whitesnake video, and may not be suitable for younger viewers. I loved it, but parents may not appreciate the suggestive nature.
In the end, the prom king and queen were announced, and the audience danced their hearts out. The show was upbeat, fun and original, but as with much longform improv, the freeform parts get old about halfway through, and we yearn to have a plot line, and characters to grow and develop with. Go to have fun, go to dance, and don’t expect to sit in your seats all night!