Several times a year, a very fun special event goes down in the recently re-located Waterhouse Banquet facility, which is now in the Maxam building right next to the new museum in downtown Peoria…
Do you remember your high school prom? Do you wish you could forget it? Whether your memories of high school prom were good or bad ones, you now have a chance to do it all over at The Awesome 80’s Prom, presented by Peoria Cabaret Theatre.
It's an exciting event that is part show and all party, The Awesome 80’s Prom is a unique blast-from-the-past event in the style of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding set at the Senior Prom of Wanaget High (Go Beavers!) in 1989. The original production has been featured on television on WNBC’S Weekend “Today Show,” CBS’s “The Early Show,” “Fox 5 News,” and Fuji Television as well as in print in The New York Times, The NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Playgirl, and many others. And like I mentioned earlier, it comes to Peoria several times a year!
At The Awesome 80’s Prom, you become fully immersed in the performance and have a great time in the process—no two proms are ever exactly alike! You aren’t merely part of the audience, you are part of the show—a “teenager” attending your prom. And all your favorite iconic characters from every 80s movie you can remember—all defined in the simplest terms and in the most convenient definitions of course—are attending the Prom as well, from Captain of the Football Team to the Basket Case, from the Geek to the Head Cheerleader, and they’re all competing for Prom King and Queen. And just like on “American Idol,” the audience (that’s YOU, the Wanaget High Student Body...see how this works?) decides who wins!
It’s highly recommended that you dress the part—after all, isn’t the whole point of high school to “fit in”? Come on, you know you have a Members Only jacket somewhere—leg warmers, tulle, sequins and the like are all pretty heavy staples at every Awesome 80’s Prom.
The Prom has proven popular in Peoria with bachelorette parties, birthdays, class reunions, anniversaries and charitable organizations. Recently, Peoria’s Awesome 80s Prom served as a big fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital of Illinois. Here, some of the ladies from Children’s Hospital pose with “Ms. Lascalzo”, prom coordinator and Wanaget High’s Drama teacher.
As you enter the MAXAM building’s atrium and wait to enter the prom located in the Broadway Lounge (just one of the Waterhouse’s three banquet spaces), you may get a chance to meet the other prom attendees as they arrive too. Here’s Melissa Ann Martin, head of Prom Committee and her date, the Senior Class President, Michael Jay. Expect heavy campaigning all night from these two for Prom King and Queen…apparently it looks good to prospective colleges.
Arriving fashionably late in style is everyone’s “favorite” on again-off again couple, Blake Williams, Captain of the football Team, and Head Cheerleader Whitley Whitaker. Here, they take a break from fighting (and making up again) to pose for the camera.
And of course there’s resident nerd Louis Fensterspock escorting his best friend, Kerrie Kowalski, who makes it abundantly clear to everyone that even though she is at the prom with Louis, she is not with Louis, as she (like most of the girls at Wanaget High) only has eyes for Blake Williams…oh the high school drama!
Principal Snelgrove and Ms. Lascalzo check you in upon arrival. Here they are having an altercation during check-in with Wanaget’s biggest rebel and bad boy, Nick Fender (does he look familiar to any of you?) Chances are he’s probably been expelled (again) and not supposed to be at prom.
After check-in, Freshman Molly Parker takes your official prom photo and then it’s party time!
So what is the biggest difference between your original high school prom and The Awesome 80’s Prom? Well, now you’re over 21 and there’s a full bar!
Once everyone has arrived and downed a drink or two at the bar (you wish you had done so in high school—but then again, maybe you did), Lascalzo officially welcomes everyone at the podium and as the party commences, leads the crowd in the “Prom Purity Pledge” to ensure that everyone will make good choices on prom night.
Prom DJ “Johnny Hughes” is on hand spinning all your favorite tunes from the 80’s while you moonwalk and “safety dance” to a lot of retro hits!
It doesn’t take long before the party is in full swing!
A group from a recent prom poses here with “Beef”, Blake Williams’ teammate and sidekick. Doesn’t every high school prom have big loud dumb jocks?
Whitley’s constant cohorts “the Heathers” are always by her side, usually judging you and your outfit.
Nobody is more eager to win the tiara than drama queen Dickie Harrington—he is after all, the self-proclaimed biggest queen at the prom and will spend most of prom showing off his moves on the dance floor.
You just never know what might happen at the Awesome 80s Prom once everyone gets drinking, dancing and having a ball. The dance floor might spontaneously become a makeshift breakdance circle!
…or a nerd may end up getting tossed in a garbage can…
The drama really starts to unfold of course, when nominations for Prom King and Queen are announced. Here, mortal enemies Dickie and Missy Ann get into a spat over just that, fueled further from a previous conflict over the drama club’s recent “Funny Girl” auditions.
Whitley and the Heathers break out the cheerleader skirts and shake their pompoms as a way of getting votes, and as they cheer for the Wanaget High Beavers…
….suddenly, there is a rush at the voting table by all of the guys.
But the night’s not all about prom voting and drama. DJ Johnny leads a singing contest…
…and several dance contests. Prizes are even awarded!
All the “cool kids” come together to lead the crowd in a “Love Shack” dance-off. Choose your favorite Heather and get ready to “Bang! Bang!” (on the door) with her…
If you’re lucky, you might even get a chance to dance with The Captain of the Football Team. Here’s Blake leading a conga line on the dance floor…
….which then stretches through the whole place!
…or maybe you just prefer slow dancing with the bad boy...
Whoever you choose to dance with, Principal Snelgrove will be close by, keeping an eye to make sure there’s no raunchy dance moves happening—you did after all take the Prom Purity Pledge—and speaking of the pledge, where has Ms. Lascalzo gone?
Looks like she’s loosening up with a little help from Fender.
Before the results of Prom voting are announced, basket case Kerrie is nearly in tears because Blake Williams still won’t acknowledge her existence. Perhaps if her dream of being crowned king and queen together comes true, she’ll finally have her moment with him!
Or will she? Remember, its up to Wanaget High’s student body to vote! So who will win? That all depends on the audience. But whoever it is, you can be assured that the Prom will end with a slow clap and a big finale that you only find in the best teen movies of the 1980’s.
The Awesome 80s Prom is a rip roaring good time, and drops down in Peoria several times a year! You can even plan to attend the next prom, Saturday night, May 17th or keep an eye on peoriacabarettheatre.com for other future dates! Grab your girlfriends or guy friends, and get ready for a big wild party-the prom you wish you would have gone to in high school! But you must be over 21, and as you can imagine, it might get a little raunchy.
So come “Back In Time,” to quote the Huey Lewis tune, and join the breakdance circle or just sit back and watch the 80s drama unfold at The Awesome 80s Prom—this time, you don’t have a curfew!