The Prom is the latest Tony Award-nominated musical comedy to stop at the Providence Performing Arts Center. The hit show is thrilling audiences at PPAC through Sunday, March 13. (Ticket information here.)

We met cast members Olivia-Rose Cece and Emily Borromeo at PPAC Wednesday morning and learned more about their lives in Rhode Island.

Cranston native Olivia-Rose Cece is thrilled to be back home … for a few days at least.

“This is definitely something I’ve looked forward to for a long time,” said Cece. “I’m still starting out in the theater world – I grew up as a competitive dancer here so I’ve danced on this stage countless times and had recitals from my home dance studio. Coming back feels very surreal – I’m pinching myself because I remember being a kid here and having those dreams. It’s very special,” said Cece.

“I have different friends and family coming Wednesday through Sunday so I’m very excited for them to get to see me on this stage especially,” she added.

As mentioned, Cece started out as a dancer and moved to theater while in college.

“I definitely knew I was going to have a career in the arts when I graduated St. Mary’s Academy Bay View in Rhode Island. I went to Pace University’s commercial dance program in New York City, for a BFA program,” Cece explained.

“It was there where I had my first singing class. I stood up and started singing and my music teacher said ‘hey there’s a voice in there, you’re more than just a dancer.’ There’s such a wide range of work you can do if you learn how to sing.”

“My first Broadway show that I auditioned for was Mean Girls,” Cece continued. “I loved how warm the environment was. I was used to a more competitive industry (dance), but in theater, I feel like there’s a place for everybody, ’cause there’s a role for everybody.”

Cranston native Olivia-Rose Cece appearing at PPAC in “The Prom” (Photo: Ken Abrams)

Cece continued, “Theater is about telling stories, you can be anybody and tell that story. When I went to my first Broadway audition, I think I had that moment when the lightbulb clicked. My first tour was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; first I was in the ensemble and then I took over the principal role of Veruca Salt. From then on, it was smooth sailing. I want to do this, I don’t want to stop.”

Emily Borromeo who plays Angie Dickenson in The Prom is a West Coast native who graduated from Brown University. How did her years at Brown influence her as an actor?

“One thing I loved about my college experience is that it really fostered a sense of creativity and curiosity,” explained Borromeo. “It’s so loose and it lets you kind of self-drive your education. I was lucky to meet some amazing thinkers, amazing people there, and also chart my own path and find my unique way into the career that I have today.”

Borromeo continued, “I took a lot of classes in education, political science, sociology, all of these came together and helped me become the person I am today. When you work on a show or any creative project you meet lots of new people, you’re problem-solving, you’re working on a team. It’s all those factors that come together to create the show.”

Borromeo didn’t necessarily plan on a career in acting. She explains how it all happened.

“As I was finishing up my studies here, part of me really wanted to move to New York City. I thought, let’s give it a year, let’s see how far you can get in a year in New York. One year turned to two, to three, to many more, once I was there and auditioning. Even though it’s a really difficult industry to be in, you have to be very resilient, it was something that I felt like I had to do. It was my path and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”

The national tour of The Prom was scheduled to begin in February 2021 at PPAC. Of course, the pandemic got in the way.  Borromeo sums up the feelings of so many in the performing arts industry.

Olivia-Rose Cece and Emily Borromeo (Photo: Ken Abrams)

“We were all so affected and so hurt by the shutdown,” said Borromeo. “When we came back to the show, I think we all approached it with an enormous sense of gratitude and presence, it was something that was taken away and can be taken away at any time. We were so lucky to be back in a room creating and collaborating together, we all brought our full selves and we were very present and supportive of each other. This cast and this whole company has been amazing to tour with, we have each other’s backs and we’re a very strong family.”

The Prom continues at PPAC through this weekend. For showtimes and further details, click here.

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.