The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

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A Peek Inside “The Prom”

This year’s Upper School Musical, The Prom, tells the story of a broadway star going to a small town in Indiana to help a young girl go to the prom with her girlfriend. Through this musical, a message about acceptance will be spread throughout the Poly community. The audience will watch as the LGBTQ+ characters find their inner strength and fight for an inclusive prom at their school. Not only is the purpose of the show to entertain and make the audience laugh, it is an empowering story that will greatly impact the Poly community. Assistant Director Sadie Schoenberger ’25 (Schoenberger is an Arts Editor for the Polygon), remarked, “the plot is about something very real in our society, and a story about a girl who is being discriminated against because of her sexuality is something that a lot of people all over the world have to go through.” This musical features many different layers of storytelling, music, dance, costumes, and set designs that the cast has been excited to share with the school.

Not everybody lives in New York; people are really not allowed to be who they are in their homes.

— Zeke Wise

Lulu McDonald ’24 stars in the musical as Emma, the girl who just wants to go to prom with her girlfriend but can’t because her town in Indiana won’t allow it. She faces discrimination from the PTA and the homophobic students. Through the course of the show, Emma shares her story with the world and gets to go to prom with her girlfriend, Alyssa. McDonald shares her experience being a lead in the show saying, “I love every part of this, but I especially love singing and I have a lot of songs, which is really fun.” In addition to her performance, she is getting the opportunity to send a message to the audience about LGBTQ+ acceptance. McDonald also shared her opinion on what she hopes the Poly community takes away from this musical.

“It’s really funny and I think just overall extremely entertaining. So like for starters, it’s just going to be really fun to see, for anyone. And from a student perspective, I would love for students to see this and maybe have it make them think a little or, you know, I think our culture isn’t perfect. So if this can be a small part of helping to improve that, I think that would be amazing.”

Another lead in the show is Barry, played by Zeke Wise ’24. Barry is one of the broadway stars who travels to help advocate for Emma in her situation. Throughout their fight against the PTA, Barry helps Emma feel confident in herself and encourages her to share her story. Barry is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community and he knows what it is like to be discriminated against. His mother didn’t support his identity so that can also reach the audience on a relatable level if others have gone through a similar experience. Along with being a lead, Wise is also the Assistant Music Director. This means that in addition to performing in the musical, he helps with the music aspect of the show such as helping people learn their singing parts and leads some singing rehearsals. Although it is more work to be involved in the show in different ways, he says “my positions sort of work together really nicely and, you know, the roles that they provide.” Wise also makes a very important point that “not everybody lives in New York; people are really not allowed to be who they are in their homes.” He hopes the musical helps educate people about how LGBTQ+ people are treated in parts of the country that are not New York City.


In addition to the entertaining performance and the important message, the musical’s set shapes the show and brings it to life. The set allows the characters and the audience to feel like they are truly in the setting of the show, enhancing both the acting and the presentation of the show. Daniel Hogan, the Set Designer, created a modern and efficient set to differentiate the scenes and illustrate the story.

“I need to be able to create quick scene changes, things that go on and off really quickly. I’m trying to create something pretty modern and sleek. We’ve done a lot of super detailed sets in the past and this one is more graphic and trying to be more fresh and younger or contemporary,” Hogan said.

The show wouldn’t be possible without Upper School drama teacher and Director Mariko Watt and Schoenberger. Their roles are crucial for designing, staging, and more. Additionally, Schoenberger highlights how “the senior class has been a pillar of the performing arts community in so many different ways for a very long time.” She shared how she enjoyed working with them saying, “I’m very personally excited that we can have so many of them highlighted in such a large ensemble musical.” She also explains what it was like experiencing both onstage and backstage roles while participating in the shows.

“This is my second year being assistant director. I started doing it last year and it has taught me an incredible amount about theater and art in general, and has helped me with film and directing, and I love it. I used to be in all the shows, and now I am on the more backstage side, which I thought was going to be hard and sad for me. And it’s not. It’s just as fulfilling.”

The cast and crew worked very hard to create this show and are hopeful that its important message will be received by the school community. In terms of the set, costumes, music, and dance, this show has many layers that come together to present an entertaining and upbeat musical filled with emotion. McDonald says that she hopes the people who come to the show “leave having had a lot of fun!”

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