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Broadway Q&A: Josh Lamon of ‘The Prom’

Category Broadway

|by Jeryl Brunner |


From Broadway-themed Bar Mitzvah to starring in ‘The Prom’

Josh Lamon stars as press agent Sheldon Saperstein in the hit Broadway musical The Prom. When a 17-year lesbian high school student in a small midwestern town is prevented from taking her girlfriend to the prom, four narcissistic Broadway divas and their press agent (Lamon) bust in to "help." Convinced they can resolve everything, they arrive to fight injustice and garner some good PR for themselves.  Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, The Prom is based on an original concept by Jack Viertel. Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin wrote the show’s hilarious book and the toe-tapping music and lyrics are by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin. Lamon’s other Broadway, Off-Broadway and TV credits includes Groundhog Day, Finding Neverland, Hair, Little Miss Sunshine, Into the Woods, 30 Rock, Inside Amy Schumer and Deadbeat.  He is currently developing the original musical Bloody Bloody Jessica Fletcher: Murder She Wrote Live! 

Josh Lamon of ‘The Prom’ on Broadway at the show’s opening night curtain call (Photo: Walter McBride/Getty Images)

Josh Lamon of ‘The Prom’ on Broadway at the show’s opening night curtain call (Photo: Walter McBride/Getty Images)

How has being in The Prom changed you? 
Josh Lamon
: I have always been in love with the show. It’s so funny and the music is so good. But it also got me really interested in LGBTQ history and my community. It makes me think of growing up in a small town and feeling alone. I went through a big born again Christian phase, where I was praying there would be somebody else like me. I want to let kids know that they do not have to hide. I want to bring every queer kid in the tri-state area, if not the world, to see The Prom. I want them to know they are a part of the bigger community, and they are loved.

What was one of the first times you appeared on stage? 
JL
: My mother signed me up for tiny community theater Halloween-themed production about ghosts. It was called Cover Your Eyes And Run. I was a ghost, and my parents still have the the video that they converted to a DVD. It is just me feeding all the other kids their lines and sort of directing everyone around.

Growing up in Poway, outside San Diego, did Broadway play a big part in your life? 
JL
: Broadway was my happy place, where I could be a star in my own world. I didn’t have to be me anymore. I was always listening to show tunes. If we were in the car, I would pause the tape, like Into the Woods, and say, “Now this is the part where Little Red does this, and the Baker's Wife does this.” And then I would continue playing the tape. My poor parents. 

I even had a Broadway-themed bar mitzvah. It was a little low-budget, but all the tables were named after Broadway shows, and the kids’ table was named after Sweeney Todd. That should give insight into how cool and popular I was at 13. Also in high school, I was way too old to be trick-or-treating, I dressed up as George Hearn as Sweeney Todd. I love that everybody in the neighborhood who opened their doors said, ‘A, you shouldn’t be trick or treating. And B, Who are you?'” 

What was one of your first professional jobs in the theater? 
JL: After I left college I discovered an audition notice for the Media Theater production of Jekyll and Hyde. I typed up a resume that was fake. I listed a show I did in high school and put a performing arts center next to it. At the audition I sang 16 bars of the song “Virginia.” They called me, offered me my equity card and a part in the ensemble.

What was the first show you saw on Broadway? 
JL
: Right after my Broadway-themed Bar Mitzvah, my family and I visited New York. We stayed at the Doubletree right next to the Palace Theater. I spent my money on one orchestra ticket to see Beauty and the Beast. It was very important to me to see the original cast, Susan Egan and Terrence Mann. I was obsessed with them. It was so magical. I had been listening to the cast recording and daydreaming about it. I remember flying into New York and seeing the city from the air for the first time. All I could think about was, “Where do all the Broadway people live? What are they doing right now? Are they in their dressing room? What does that look like?” I remember, in the program, Disney wrote a note saying, “If this is your first time seeing a Broadway show, welcome.” It was everything that I could ever possibly imagine it being.

Can you talk about your Broadway debut? 
JL
: After living in Philadelphia and doing theater there, in 2003 I moved to New York and found steady work regionally and on tour, like touring in Wicked. In 2009, I auditioned for the Broadway revival of Hair. By then I was so tired of all the years living out of a suitcase and not making enough money. I decided that if the audition didn't go my way, I can’t do this anymore. I called my agent to turn down the audition.  I said, “I’m not some sexy little thing with all this hair. I am a chubby guy who is balding. There is no part for me in Hair.” 

But the day after callbacks, which were like five hours long, my agent called. I was already sitting shiva for Hair. The agent said “I’m so sorry that you're going through this. But I think you should hang on a little bit longer because you're going to be making your Broadway debut in Hair.”  I started to cry, and called my parents first. I spent my entire life wondering what it is like to get that call.

***
For more of the best of Broadway, check out our list of the Top Shows in New York in April 2019.

 

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