Bring a date to ‘The Prom’


Annabella Mireles

“The Prom” stars Sidnee Coder as Emma Nolan and Alyssa Bustillos as Alyssa Greene, two lesbian students who are banned from going to prom together.

Itzel Giron, Editor-in-Chief

Love is in the air and even more so inside the UTEP Dinner Theatre as “The Prom” takes center stage for audiences to enjoy. The Tony-nominated musical’s first showing took place Feb. 3 as a part of the UTEP Dinner Theatre’s 40th anniversary.   

According to the Dinner Theatre website, the story centers around four fading Broadway stars who are in desperate need of a new stage. When they hear that trouble is brewing around a small-town Indiana prom, it is time to kickball-change the world. The town’s parents want to keep the dance on the straight and narrow—but when one student just wants to bring her girlfriend to prom, the entire town has a date with destiny.  

During the show, audiences are treated to laughs, belted vocals and possibly a few tears thanks to great casting in every role. However, the show has four fading stars; Dee Dee Allen (Keri Baggs), Barry (Ivan Cano), Trent (Zaid Ricarte) and Angie (Isabella Candelaria). Have no fear though, the performer’s talents shine brightly through.   

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  • “The Prom” is a musical based on a book by Bob Martin and Buelin, based on an original concept by Jack Viertel.

  • Actress Keri Baggs as Dee Dee Allen and Fernando Romer as Mr. Hawkins.

  • Parking for the event is available next to the Liberal Arts Building and, in the streets, surrounding the Union Buildings and in front and back of the Education Building.

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All four did an amazing job, especially Ricarte’s rendition of “Love Thy Neighbor” as it was one highlight of the entire production. The humor in the mannerisms and passion in the singing and dancing wowed me alongside my fellow tableside guests. Candelaria, who might not have had a solo act as her character Angie, certainly had moments where she stole the show. From Angie’s sly, sexual and comedic remarks to her duet with Emma Nolan (Sidnee Coder), her dedication to the character was on full display, making it exciting to see what she has up her sleeve for any future productions.  

Both Nolan and Alyssa Greene (Alyssa Bustillos) share sweet moments as the hidden lesbian couple at the center of this all, making all the heartbreaking parts of the show hurt just a bit more. Renditions of “Dance with You” or “Alyssa Greene” are heartfelt and tug at the heart strings leaving no opportunity for a dry eye in the audience.   

Coder performing “Unruly Heart” is another song audiences can anticipate. Being one of the most emotional points in the production, it is reason enough to have tissues handy. The song ties in the company with Coder’s vocals, giving a deeper meaning behind the moment of peace. This is also the moment Coder’s character accepts who she is and how she wants to live her life.  

Other cast members to applaud are Sheldon (Angel Rodriguez), Mr. Hawkins (Fernando Romero) and Mrs. Greene (Elise Herndon), who might not have had an opportunity to do a solo act, but still lived up to the high standards of musical production.  

From playing their character to switching things up and joining the company for a dance break, all three stood out.  

However, it was Baggs and Cano who stole the show every time they got on stage. Both played eccentric characters meaning both actors had shoes to fill, which they filled. Cano’s humor filled the theater with laughter and Baggs’ over the top and sarcastic humor could have replaced James Corden and Meryl Streep in the film adaptation.   

Overall, the production was top tier in costuming, musicality, dancing and acting. Each song displayed the talent each actor has, and it is more so seen in “Tonight Belongs to You.” If you are planning on attending, be prepared to laugh and bring a tissue or two as the production can get emotional at times.   

It being my first time at the Dinner Theatre, they have made me a fan and I cannot wait to attend the next production.  

I give it a 10 out of 10 as “The Prom” is the perfect post-Valentine’s Day date especially with showings ending Feb. 19. For more information on purchasing tickets, you can visit the UTEP Dinner Theatre website for show times, prices and the menu.  

Itzel Giron is editor-in-chief and may be reached at [email protected]; @by.itzel.giron on Instagram; @itzel_anahi_16 on Twitter.