Back Stage West

One more night: Ken Davenport.(SELF-STARTER)

On a recent Tuesday afternooN. walking the cavernous halls of Off-Broadway's Dodger Stages complex in New York, Ken Davenport looks around and says, "It's going to be lonely here in a few weeks." The final traces of the now closed The Great American Trailer Park Musical are being carted away, leaving one less production to share space with Altar Boyz, the hit boy-band parody musical Davenport co-produced and co-conceived. Although he may be wistful about the departure of a fellow tenant, he shows no intention of leaving the building.

And why should he? As the first work in the 2-year-old New York Musical Theatre Festival to land a commercial ruN. Altar Boyz has done steady business since its March 2005 opening. Its success proves that Davenport was right when he guessed there was a market for a musical with an interesting twist on the boy-band phenomenon. However, Altar Boyz is just the latest illustration of his ability to smell a potential hit.

The other, and perhaps more representative, example is The Awesome 80s Prom. A show that Davenport dubs "reality theatre," it ushers crowds into a Reagan-era high school dance, featuring music, refreshments, and every 1980s teen archetype. A breakfast club of jocks, geeks, and cheerleaders roams the floor, chatting--and occasionally dancing--with audience members who vote for the prom king and queen. …

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