Burlington Free Press
When Lyric Theatre opens its production of the Broadway musical “The Prom” on Thursday, Nov. 9, it will mark the start of the 50th season for Vermont’s largest community theater organization.
Lyric did more than just start producing musicals in 1974; the company was integral in reviving a derelict Main Street movie theater that would become one of Burlington’s artistic jewels, the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. That Art Deco structure, as it has for half a century, will host the next Lyric Theatre production, through Sunday, Nov. 12.
“The Prom” is inspired by the actual case of a school that canceled its prom when a lesbian couple planned to attend. The lighthearted musical with a message follows four narcissistic Broadway performers aiming to revive their careers by attaching themselves to a cause to make them look less self-centered, and they arrive in town to support the young couple. In the process, the students at the center of the controversy strive to change the minds of wary townspeople and maybe help those self-absorbed Broadway stars see the light themselves.
“The Prom” ran on Broadway in 2018 and 2019 at the Longacre Theatre on West 48th Street in Manhattan, directly across from the Walter Kerr Theatre where Anais Mitchell’s Vermont-conceived musical “Hadestown” opened during the run of “The Prom” in 2019. “Hadestown” would go on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical over four other contenders, including “The Prom.”
Fifty years for Lyric Theatre – that’s a big number. The Burlington Free Press reached out to Erin Evarts, Lyric’s executive director, asking her to share other numbers that help define the impact the theater troupe has had on Burlington, Chittenden County, and Vermont as a whole. Her emailed responses are below.
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“’The Prom’ is Lyric’s 100th show on the Flynn Main Stage – we have however done well over 100 with past productions during First Night, cabarets and concerts throughout the community, our new Theatre for Young Audiences programs, two movies during the pandemic, etc.”
“We have done ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ ‘Guys and Dolls,’ ‘West Side Story,’ and ‘Annie’ all three times.”
“We don’t have a specific number but we recently calculated approximately 2,500 volunteers onstage and behind the scenes.”
“The limit does not exist, thousands upon millions ha-ha. All lovingly cared for by our volunteers.”
“We have sold about half a million tickets to our shows.”
“Actual Broadway credits: Kate Wetherhead, Liana Hunt, Merritt David Janes, Shaina Taub, Kerstin Anderson, Paul Miller, Michelle Dawson, Noa Saunders – dozens of others with Off-Broadway Credits and National Tours.”
WHAT: “The Prom” by Lyric Theatre
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9-Saturday, Nov. 11; 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11; 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12
WHERE: The Flynn, 153 Main St., Burlington
TICKET PRICES: $20-$49.
Contact Brent Hallenbeck at [email protected].
Lyric Theatre Company: Our 50th Season!