Awesome '80s Prom: The time of your life
I've officially redreamed, reimagined, remastered and relived my own personal '80s prom. The Awesome '80s Prom rolls on through the weekend at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall, so there's still time for you to do the same.
I hit the Friday night show, not having ANY idea what to expect. Let me get this out of the way: Everyone there last night had a TOTAL blast. Now, the memorable moments.
THE CROWD: Wow. Just totally into it from the get-go. Check out this photo of SIT80s fan Kim and me, taken by the still anonymous Vegas Girlfriend. She was wearing the same prom dress she wore for her 1989 junior prom. Me? Umm, that is NOT the same outfit I wore in 1985. Though I'm pretty sure that's the same white jacket that David Byrne wore in Stop Making Sense.
THE CAST: The 18 actors -- nerds (photo left), the football captain, cheerleaders, a Long Duk Dong type and others -- who work the room were fantastic. Funny but without being too in-your-face. They were as playful as you wanted them to be. (Wallflowers, relax. It's not like the actors dragged anyone onto the dance floor to do the Electric Slide, which was blissfully absent.)
THE SONGS: The DJ stuck to Top 20 stuff from throughout the decade, but took requests once the "theatrical" portion of the evening was over. Very few ballads (REO's Can't Fight This Feeling was a memorable one), but people pretty much danced however they wanted. For the record, I can't name the first song -- the DJ had already started when I arrived 15 minutes before "show time" -- but the last song with the actors still involved was The Time of My Life from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. And yes, they did the big lift.
FAVORITE CHARACTER: This is going to sound weird, but I'd going with the "school principal," who had to stop me from dirty dancing on several occasions. Toward the end of the prom, he freaks out and starts drinking from a flask. Wish I'd thought to bring one.
MEET DICKIE: "Dickie" was Duckie, only just a little more ... well, gay. There I said it. But that fairly obvious fact works into the story line as well. And for the record, SIT80s fan "A-Rod" had a "Duckie" outfit that was even more realistic than Dickie's.
THE LOOSE SCREW: Everyone loved the rebel character "Bender" -- yep, a pretty close clone to Judd Nelson in Breakfast Club. He bumped into me early on in the evening. Here was the approximate exchange.
Bender: "Dude, why are we at this lame prom?"
Bender: "What's it to you, White Tux guy?"
I try throwing some Breakfast Club lines at him -- the whole "loose screws" bit. Bender sees right through me and won't bite.
Bender: "Wanna get high? I have the herb right here." (He pulls out a baggie from his pocket).
Steve: "Ummm, that looks real."
Bender: "I'm just saying. You know where I am, amigo. I like your date!" (He walks by, and runs his hands across Vegas Girlfriend.)
KING AND QUEEN: The audience votes on this every performance. Last night, "Bender" won for king, while "Dickie" won for queen. Sweet.
So there you go. I'll have more photos next week. Still time to get into your '80s garb and head to Clearwater for the Saturday night or Sunday performances. True to story line, you will have the time of your life.
["Dickie" photo by G. Mitchell Davis/Ruth Eckerd Hall]