(Long Island, NY) This year I celebrated my Halloween weekend at Webster Hall to participate in the Awesome 80’s Prom. You may ask, what is the Awesome 80’s Prom?
The Awesome 80s Prom is an interactive off-Broadway play brought to you in a nostalgic brand new blast-from-the-past party in the style of Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding and The Donkey Show set at Wanaget High’s Senior Prom in 1989! Think Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, The Brat Pack. The cast of fabulous characters are reminiscent from your favorite ’80s prom flicks from the dashing captain of the football team to the Asian exchange student, to the high school nerd to the sexy mini skirt head cheerleader, and they’re all competing for Prom King and Queen. The audience cast their votes and decides who wins while dancing the night away to retro hits like Cindi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go!” Come “Back In Time”, to quote a Huey Lewis tune.
Put on your best prom dress, tux and start breakdancing or just sit back and enjoy this splendid interactive Off Broadway ’80s production. Awesome 80s Prom has been featured on WNBC’S Weekend Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, Fox 5 News and Fuji Television as well as in The New York Times, The NY Daily News, New York Magazine, and Playgirl.
What was suppose to be just be a six week run for The Awesome 80s Prom has now turned into a major long running production at the New York nightclub Webster Hall, where it has played for almost two years.
Winner of The Improvisational Theater Association 1st annual Improv Theater Award for Best Interactive Show this awesome production was conceived, produced and written by Ken Davenport. During my interview with the very talented and might I add handsome Mr. Davenport he revealed, “I tend to think of the 80’s as the decade of guilty pleasures because we think of Wham, gremlins, teased hair, smurfs and we laugh and we make fun of it but once we are in it we celebrate it. The 80’s was a decade of over indulgence and over the top zealousness that we haven’t really seen in a while.”
Author and Director Ken Davenport decided to have a career in show business early on in his life when he wore red suede pumas, a black leather tie and used to breakdance on official “Beat Street” cardboard purchased at KB Toy & Hobby. Ken graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He pursued a career in acting which included a role in Forever Plaid performing for the former President Bush. He also worked behind the scenes with staff positions on the Broadway revivals of My Fair Lady with Richard Chamberlain and Grease with Rosie O’Donnell. Ken has had the distinct pleasure of Company Managing and/or General Managing Gypsy starring Broadway Actress Bernadette Peters and Thoroughly Modern Millie, as well as the road companies of Jekyll & Hyde, Chicago (National Tour and Las Vegas) and Cinderella starring Deborah Gibson and Jamie Lynn DiScala and legendary Diva Miss Eartha Kitt. Ken was the Director of Creative Development for NETworks and has also produced and directed several workshops, readings and regional productions, including several companies of Forever Plaid, a reading of Is There Life After High School? and an original musical that he wrote, entitled Prime Time.
Cognac Wellerlane Interviews Ken Davenport off Broadway play Awesome 80s prom
Recently hailed as the “P.T. Barnum of Off-Broadway” in the New York Times and featured on a national commercial for the iPhone, Ken is the only independent producer to have three shows running simultaneously Off-Broadway: ALTAR BOYZ, THE AWESOME 80S PROM and MY FIRST TIME which he revealed in our interview “It can be a challenge.”
Ken is responsible for establishing Davenport Theatrical Enterprises in 2002, an independent theatrical production, development and consulting company based in New York City. DTE develops, produces, and manages theatrical productions on and Off-Broadway, on national tours, and around the world. With its in-house marketing and management teams and its unique style of combining traditional business models with modern marketing, DTE offers its productions hands-on expertise that allows for creativity in not only the development of its productions, but also in their promotion.
What’s new for Ken Davenport? Ken is also developing a Broadway musical adapted from the classic romantic flick, Somewhere In Time, as well as a documentary style theater piece in the tradition of The Vagina Monologues called My First Time: True Stories of Love and Sex Submitted Online By People Just Like You (www.myfirsttimelive.com). For more information visit www.davenporttheatrical.com.
I also had the chance to interview Actor Scott Sussman who portrays DJ JOHNNY HUGHES in the production. Scott is an experienced actor, stand-up comedian, and professional events entertainer with the Awesome 80’s Prom. His recent stand-up appearances include Caroline’s on Broadway, Gotham Comedy Club, Laugh Factory, NY Improv, and Therapy Bar. Recent theatre credits include Tony in the 50th Anniversary production of West Side Story at the Fulton Theatre, Les Miserables at the Pioneer Theatre Company, Jesus Christ Superstar at North Shore Music Theatre, and Ragtime at the Papermill Playhouse.
Cognac Wellerlane Interviews Scott Sussman At the awesome 80s prom in Webster Hall
Born into a musical family, Scott was raised in Long Island, New York. His grandmother, Diane Sussman, and his father, Stanley Sussman, were both entertainers and loved to sing and perform. In our interview he mentioned that he was destined for show-business after receiving his first gift, a microphone.
Encouraged by his teachers because of his astounding talents, Scott started taking voice lessons with Michael Crouse of the Crouse Studio for Voice and achieved not only top regional honors, but earned a place in the National Associate for Music Education’s All-Eastern Choir and toured Europe with the Sound of America Honors Choir. Scott attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and received his Bachelors of Science in Communications majoring in theatre with a specialization in musical theatre.
For more information, schedule of upcoming appearances, or just to say “What you talkin’ about Willis,” visit Scott on myspace at www.myspace.com/scottsussman or his official website www.scottsussmanlive.com.
Celebrity sightings at the Awesome 80’s Prom include Sandra Bullock, Adam Sandler,Teri Ivans, Kandice Pelletier (Miss New York 2005), Venus Williams, Tara Reid, Omarosa, Alyssa Milano, Kevin Bacon, Kellie Pickler, William Hung, Drew Barrymore, Tori Spelling, Ally Sheedy, Christian Campbell, Chloe Sevigny, The Olsen Twins, Emilio Estevez, Mena Suvari, Lisa Bonet, Phoebe Cates, Ricky Schroeder, Constantine Maroulis (American Idol), Molly Shannon, Patrick McEnroe, Anne Hathaway, Josh Hartnett, Jennifer Tilly, Shannon Doherty, Tawny Kitaen and Amanda Bynes.