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'The Awesome 80s Prom' to open new downtown theatre

Monmouth College students picture left to right are Zach Platt (as bad boy Nick Fender), Anton Benediktov (as football player “Beef” Beefarowski), Trent Markland (as nerd Louis Fensterspock), Adam Duffield (as class president Michael Jay) and Jill Turley (as freshman Molly Parker).
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To open a brand new downtown theatre space, Monmouth College’s Crimson Masque will present “The Awesome 80s Prom,” a fun, interactive show at which the audience is invited to talk, dance and vote for the prom royalty with the actors.
The first show performed in the Fusion Theatre at 230 South Main Street will premiere Feb. 27 and run through March 2. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on the first three dates, with a 2 p.m. matinee on March 2. Tickets are $6 adults, $5 for students/seniors and $4 for MC students and faculty. They can be purchased online at More information is available from theatre professor Bill Wallace at 309-457-2374 or
A blast-from-the-past party, “The Awesome 80s Prom” is set at Wanaget High’s senior prom in 1989. The characters were inspired by ’80s movie favorites, from the captain of the football team to the Asian exchange student, and from the geek to the sexy head cheerleader. Everyone is competing for prom king and queen, and the audience will decide who wins. The show is not appropriate for audience members under 13 years of age.
“The Awesome 80s Prom” was chosen by a group of students enrolled in “Theatre Collaboration,” a class that challenges its students to take on unfamiliar behind-the-scenes production roles in order to develop their skills. It also teaches valuable collaboration skills that they can use in the professional world.
Theatre department chair and Monmouth native Doug Rankin says that the theatre is “a new venture and initiative to involve the town with the college in exciting new ways.” He hopes that it can be the anchor for a new arts district, as it is located near the Buchanan Center for the Arts and across the street from the Rivoli Theatre.
Leased from Frantz Community Investors, the Fusion Theatre was renovated throughout the past year. It is the former site of several businesses, including Martha Brown Ltd., a popular women’s fashion store.