Celebrating Inclusion and Courage: “The Prom” Premieres at Uptown Players 

Theatre TCU cast at Uptown Players in Dallas, Texas.

The production features Department of Theatre students, faculty and alumni.

Uptown Players proudly presents the regional premiere of “The Prom,” a hit Broadway musical that celebrates acceptance and the transformative power of standing up for what is right. 

The production features our talented Department of Theatre students and alumni: Audrey Beyersdorfer ’24, Henry Cawood ’26, Sophie DeYoung ’25, Sam Illum ’26 and Gabriela Yarbrough ’26. The musical is also directed by Associate Professor Penny Maas, with alum Rain Phillips as stage manager.

Sophie DeYoung

Sophie DeYoung ’25

“I saw ‘The Prom’ on Broadway at 16, and it immediately became one of my dream shows,” said DeYoung. Performing this fun and important show with Uptown Players is truly special!”

Actor Q&A

Could you specify the character you will portray in “The Prom,” along with a brief description of your role in the production?
Beyersdorfer: I will play the role of Kaylee and ensemble. Kaylee is the head cheerleader and lead mean girl of the school. She is the main instigator in bullying Emma but eventually learns to accept her.

Audrey Beyersdorfer

Audrey Beyersdorfer ’24

DeYoung: I will play the role of Shelby, a friend of Kaylee who disapproves of Emma taking a girl to the prom. 

Illum: I’m in the ensemble which means I will be doing a little bit of everything from dancing in group numbers to small solo bits to moving set pieces. 

Cawood: I will portray Nick, a high school jock from Indiana who bullies the lead, Emma, but through the show learns to accept her. 

Yarbrough: I will be in the Student Ensemble, portraying many different roles throughout the show! 

How does it feel to be cast in the regional premiere of “The Prom” at Uptown Players?
Cawood: The opportunity to perform in this show is invigorating. This will be my first performance at a professional theater as an adult, and I could not be more excited to share this production with some fellow Horned Frogs.

Henry Cawood

Henry Cawood ’26

Beyersdorfer: I am beyond thrilled to be a part of this company and to tell this story. “The Prom” is funny, exciting and essential, and I look forward to the challenge of this role. I am so grateful for this to be my first professional show after graduating and I cannot wait for what the future holds! 

Illum: It is almost surreal. I am so excited to get started on my first professional production, and I am especially excited to do it with some of my best friends! 

Yarbrough: I’ve loved this show since I first heard it in middle school and feel so lucky to be involved in it now. I have also been a fan of Uptown Players for a long time and am so happy to be able to work with them on such a special project! 

How has your TCU training and experiences prepared you for this opportunity?
Beyersdorfer: In theatre, the first and most important aspect of getting the job is the audition, which Theatre TCU spends a whole year preparing us for. Throughout multiple classes, we learned about the skills required for not only that first impression but also the callback that follows, and how to stand out.

Gabriela Yarbrough

Gabriela Yarbrough ’26

DeYoung: I feel confident in understanding how a professional theatre environment functions. Our faculty has emphasized the importance of learning your material before rehearsals even start. This level of professionalism sets our students apart and helps to make the process more creative and seamless. The cast is incredibly kind, and I hope to work with them all again!

What are you most excited about in terms of working with the cast and creative team?
DeYoung: I am most excited about the choreography! The music is so vibrant and fun, and we have some phenomenal dancers. The show is so high energy, and this cast is truly going to rise to the occasion.

Sam Illum

Sam Illum ’26

Illum: I am excited to get to soak in all the wisdom from the more experienced cast members and creative team, who have all been doing this much longer than I have. It will be fun to get to watch them all work together to make a cohesive product. 

Cawood: I love watching theatre artists come together to create something bigger than themselves, and I cannot wait to experience this during “The Prom.” The fact that I get to witness this with some fellow peers from TCU is so special, and I am incredibly grateful to be granted this opportunity. 

Yarbrough: I am so excited to work on this fantastic show with both old friends and new. It’s thrilling to have so many Horned Frogs involved in this production, and I can’t wait to learn from and collaborate with industry professionals whose work I’ve admired for years.