When the cast of `Prom' hits the bars, some get hit on and some get hit


October 20, 2005|By SAM SESSA

AFTER THEIR PERFORMance last Saturday night, a dozen cast members from The Awesome 80s Prom lined up on the sidewalk outside the Hippodrome.

The show was finished for the night, but the party was still in full swing. The actors prepared to tour the city's nightlife in full dress and character to drum up support for the dance party/play, which runs at the Hippodrome through late November.

Eager to see how the city would react to a rolling '80s prom-in-a-can, I tagged along.

In the play, the cast portrays stereotypes of '80s high-schoolers, including nerds, jocks and cheerleaders. Theatergoers dig out their prom dresses and suits and dance all night, interacting with the characters and voting for prom king and queen.

During the 3 1/2 hours of bar-hopping, the cast hit the city hard. At some bars, the city hit back.

It was around 10:30 p.m., and the ensemble piled into a white stretch limo, shut the door and rolled off toward Power Plant Live.

Armed with Awesome 80s promotional fliers, the group poured out of the limo and strode toward the Lodge Bar.

"This environment is highly conducive to lung damage and liver failure," said Tim Lewis, who plays nerd Louis Fensterspock.

Inside a medium-full Lodge Bar, most of the cast gravitated to the dance floor and threw their hands in the air. As the band Seven Sharp Nine hammered out a cover of "She's a Brick House," Sean Mullin, who plays the captain of the football team, had his arms around two girls. Acting? Maybe.

After about 15 minutes, the band took a break, and the cast headed for the door.

Outside, the jocks shouted at the line of women waiting to get inside. Girls pulled Lewis and some of the other cast members aside for photo ops. There was plenty of playful pointing and laughing.

Principal Snelgrove, played by Robert Neal Marshall, pointed to a pack of girls and teased, "I'll give you detention, ladies! In my office!"

The girls giggled back at him.

"I get hit on more than any of the others, because they all want to hit on their principal," Marshall said.

Have a Nice Day Cafe was next, and the cast blended in seamlessly under the gigantic disco ball. A brunette approached Lewis (the nerd) near the dance floor and said, "Come here."

Lewis followed her back to a pack of her girlfriends, where one of them offered him a plastic shot glass of something resembling Jagermeister. Lewis, staying in character, backed away awkwardly, tripped over himself, fell backward into a trash can and fled the group.

A little while later, it was back into the limo.

Then came McGurk's and Mother's in Federal Hill, two of the city's tightest-packed bars.

"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," Lewis muttered as he walked up the stairs in McGurk's clutching his Rubik's Cube. There, Marshall (the principal) said he got his rear slapped four times.

"It's something about polyester pants," he said.

Eager to leave because it was so crammed, the cast handed out fliers hard in Federal Hill. Some bar patrons put the fliers in their pockets, others fanned themselves with them, read them or tossed them on the floor.

Bryan Richard Deehring, who plays DJ Johnny Hughes, fended off people who grabbed at his magnificent mullet to see if it was real. It was.

In Fells Point, the crowds turned rough. It was later by then (around 12:30 a.m.), patrons had more to drink, and Fells attracts a much different crowd than Power Plant or Federal Hill. With a few drinks in their bellies, patrons at the Greene Turtle and Max's on Broadway seemed to revert to their own former teenage personas.

"It's like they're living out their fantasies that never happened in high school," Lewis said.

At the Greene Turtle, he said, he was slapped in the mouth, kissed and kicked in the groin. At Max's, a man by the pool table shoulder-butted him, grabbed his pants and delivered a crotch-crushing wedgie. Mullin (the jock) ran over to make sure everything was all right.

"I got mauled," Lewis said.

So did the cheerleaders, who said over the course of the night that people touched their chests under the guise of reading the words on their uniform vests. Saturday was an amplified example of what happens during average show nights, they said.

"I get my hair pulled in the show; I get my dress lifted," said Amanda Smith, who plays cheerleader Heather No. 2.

As the limo pulled back up to the Hippodrome, a drained cast filtered out and made for the dressing room. Success? They'd handed out most of their fliers and shared a piece of The Awesome 80s Prom with hundreds of random Baltimoreans, many of whom loved it.



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