"The Prom" cast in a musical number. Photo courtesy of Rae Hurley

The ultimate (Concord-Carlisle) high school experience: ‘The Prom’ 

By Felicity Zhang — CCHS Correspondent

Prom is the quintessential high school experience. 

And “The Prom,” this year’s Concord-Carlisle High School theater program spring musical, is equally unmissable — whether or not you’re in high school. 

CC Theatre Director Melissa Charych says the show has “a healthy mix of Broadway jazz and contemporary hip hop” with “unique, lovable characters and ‘happy musical theater moments,’” all balanced by “the realities of living in a small midwestern town where the prom is canceled because a girl wants to bring her girlfriend as her date.” 

The show’s themes of opening the mind to differing perspectives and unapologetic pride in identity are woven together with vibrant colors, glitter… and, of course, a disco ball. 

A celebration 

Charych says the show “celebrates the integrity of this generation of young people who bravely… challenge convention and fight to make the world a better and safer place for people to be who they are.” 

As Emma Rowland ’25 (Emma Nolan) puts it, “The Prom” conveys the message that “society will never have the power to change your ‘Unruly Heart’” — to borrow from the title of one of the musical’s tunes — and that “although the world may seem small and cramped, it has a place for everyone.” 

Cast members holding signs for a scene during a run-through. Photo courtesy of Rae Hurley

The production might stylistically take a turn from CC Theatre’s recent previous shows, which Charych describes as “more classic titles with ‘bigger names.’” 

But it continues to expand CC Theatre’s reputation for pulling together an ambitious array of moving parts – literally and figuratively – into a cohesive result. Similarly identifiable: The shared passion and fun that breathe life into every show. 

The set construction tech crew at work. Photo courtesy of Naomi Benyo

One student techie admits, “At first, I was a little skeptical of this show… but it has since grown on me as I’ve been able to watch the show take shape and [characters] develop.”

Becky Robichaud, CC Theatre’s choreographer and accessibility director, says that with “pretty much every aspect” of the theater program being student-run, the show “seemed like the perfect vehicle to expand those educational opportunities to choreography.”  

“People, love, and laughter”

Working with four student choreographers of “great creativity and vision,” Robichaud taught them “how to get that vision from their imaginations to the stage… and… how to problem-solve [in] real time.” 

One student choreographer, Christina Drake, ’24 (Ensemble), calls the experience a “healthy challenge,” saying, “I hadn’t ever choreographed entire sections of a song, much less shared it with others, [but] I have found [both] very gratifying.” 

Another student choreographer, Mia Snorek-Yates, ’24 (Motel Clerk, Ensemble), says “the people, love, and laughter” she can turn to in difficult moments has only reminded her “why I love what I’m doing and being a part of this community.”

Technical Director Ned Roos explains that “as is always the case, the tight timeline to assemble all the technical aspects” — including several set pieces on wheels and “one that weighs hundreds of pounds and still needs to move” — is a challenge. (As is equally always the case, students are striving to make it all seamless.) 

Crew members moving one of the newly constructed set pieces. Photo courtesy of Naomi Benyo

Meaningful messaging

This year, new CCHS’ Choral Director Sarah Grina took on the role of vocal director for the musical. 

“Between my amazing and supportive colleagues, the incredible talent in the cast and crew, and the important message of the show, I couldn’t be happier to be involved,” Grina says.

She adds, “I only wish we had more hours in the day to work together on the music.” 

Says Rowland, “I hope the audience [can] see the love these characters share for each other, and hopefully, support those in their own life who are exploring their sexuality or even just who they want to be as a person.” 

CC Theatre performs “The Prom” (school edition) at the CCHS auditorium at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 9; Friday, May 10; and Saturday, May 11, with an additional Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. Purchase tickets at cc-theatre.org. There will be open- and closed-captioning for all shows, in addition to professional ASL interpretation of Friday’s show.