The real-life story of Marc Hall makes its Canadian musical debut
One teen's fight to bring boyfriend to prom turns into a musical at Montreal's Segal Centre
When Alessandro Costantini first heard about Marc Hall's story a year ago, he never dreamed he'd get to portray him on stage.
Now Costantini stars as the lead role in Prom Queen: The Musical, in the Canadian premiere at Montreal's Segal Centre of Performing Arts.
The production is based on the life of Marc Hall, the Oshawa, Ont., teen who fought for the right to take his boyfriend to prom in 2002 and won.
At the time, the Durham Catholic School Board said that allowing Hall to bring his boyfriend to prom goes against its Catholic teachings.
The case made international headlines.
Hall took the school board to court and won his case. Costantini says he feels like he's playing a real life hero.
"Young people always think they can take on the world, but when one does it's so righteous," said Costantini.
"He's actively taking down the walls that were put up by the people before him."
From the courtroom to the stage
Turning such a serious case into an entertaining stage production is no easy feat.
Writer Kent Staines started working on the musical eight years ago. Staines said Hall's story was covered at length by the media, so that made their job a bit easier.
Hall was also very accessible to the team.
"The show is very funny and takes a lighthearted approach at the subject," said Staines.
"It was a matter of fusing what really happened, with what would be interesting and entertaining on the stage."
Largest production in Segal history
The play is the largest production in the Segal Centre's history, in terms of budget, the dozens of people it took to put it together and some of the high-profile collaborators. The music was composed by Colleen Dauncey, with lyrics by Akiva Romer-Segal.
The musical director is Mark Camilleri, whose resumé includes Celine Dion, Sting, Eric Clapton and Sheryl Crow.
They also brought in So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Sean Cheesman.
"I didn't know what to expect, ... but working with this seasoned cast and young talent all mixed into one, and our director is just so amazing so the team has been great," said Cheesman.
"This has been like creating a new baby."
Marc Hall to attend
Hall, 32, is expected to attend the show the first week of November.
He didn't return an interview request, but he is quoted by the Segal Centre as saying, "I never imagined my battle to take my boyfriend to the prom would lead to something like this ... I am just thrilled that so much positivity has come from my experience."
Director Marcia Kash says the musical is a great family show, with a wonderful message about love that she hopes that gets across to the audience.
"There is no love that is wrong, I think that's what the show says," said Kash.
"Love is love, no matter what stripes, size, shape or colour."
Prom Queen: The Musical runs until Nov. 20 at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts.