J-D Musical “The Prom” Examines Gay Rights and Inclusivity in High School

Photo shows "The Prom" cast members at rehearsal. Photo credit: Gabbi Kleiner ('24)

Musical Showdates are February 9, 10 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and February 11 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. You can buy tickets here: https://jdmusic.ticketleap.com/the-prom/

Announced this past November, “The Prom”, directed by Kelsie Deyo, will be Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s 2023 musical production. This production has been a local topic of interest, with a feature in both Syracuse.com and on WSRY-TV. The main focus of discussion has been the show’s focus on LGBTQ+ inclusion and the story’s emotional message. The production follows four eccentric Broadway stars who help a courageous small town girl attempt to bring her girlfriend to the prom despite disapproval from local parents.

The theme of inclusion goes beyond just the stage, as the JDHS’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Club will be selling snacks and decorating a table each night of the show outside of the auditorium. The money raised will be donated to the Trevor Project, a non-profit committed to suicide prevention and mental health support for LGBTQ youth; their toll-free and confidential telephone number is 866-488-7386.

According to one of the senior club leaders, Major Harrison, the musical production team has been very helpful including Mr. Berger, the J-D musical producer who even attended a couple GSA club meetings to hear members out. 

Despite the overall positive response by the J-D community, Harrison confesses that GSA has still had some problems, typically with underclassmen saying problematic remarks, and unfortunately a teacher has had to stand with the club booth at the JDHS activity fair for the past few years. Although responded to in stride by administrators, these instances make it challenging to call J-D an entirely inclusive community and reinforce the crux of this year’s musical.

“Overall, J-D has been supportive, and in the future, we are looking forward to doing more events for Pride Month,” says Harrison.

On a more aesthetic level, creating a set that matches the dazzle of the plotline has been challenging, but a challenge that the whole production team has stepped up to. Senior and stage manager Morgan Moracco, says that the main challenge has been so many smaller props and set pieces and complex transitions. In fact, this year Christina Carroll was hired as a technical director just to organize and design the production’s props, and two student crew members are entirely committed to keeping track of the props during the show.

“One of the more difficult challenges was figuring out how to not only decorate the stage to look like a prom, but also decorate the auditorium to give the audience a truly immersive experience during the finale scene,” says Moracco.

This level of logistical detail and originality is particularly appreciated. With other schools in the Central New York area choosing more traditional musicals such as “Beauty and the Beast”, J-DHS’s “The Prom” stands out as a refreshing piece of ingenuity. Truly an immersive experience, full of wonder, awe, and brimming with emotion, this year’s musical production stands to be like no other. Opening and closing this weekend, the cast and crew have been working for months and encourage everyone in the J-D community to buy tickets in support. 

Gabrielle Kleiner, '24
Gabrielle Kleiner is a junior at JDHS and the Rampage Lifestyle editor. She enjoys reading strange books and playing with her dog.