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Tony Award Nominee Shows IWU Alum's Love For Storytelling

The Prom cast
Deen van Meer
The cast of "The Prom," from left, includes Josh Lamon, Beth Leavel, Brooks Ashmanksas and Angie Schworer.

One of this year's hottest Broadway shows this year was produced by an Illinois Wesleyan University alum.
Bill Damaschke’s company StoryKey Entertainment produced "The Prom." It's up for seven Tony awards, including best musical.

Bill Damaschke
Bill Damashke's company StoryKey Entertainment produced The Prom, which is nominated for seven Tony Awards.

Damaschke said the satire about four former Broadway actors who champion the cause of a lesbian in a conservative Indiana town tapped into his love for the theater.

He recalled a scene in which the principal of the school which had banned a lesbian couple from the prom sings a song in which he reflects on how theater and film provide an escape.

“Growing up in Chicago and then going to Illinois Wesleyan, I always dreamed and hoped that I would be a part of the theater because I wanted to tell stories and I loved the experience of being taken away by a story or by a song,” Damaschke said. “That’s one thing that the show really celebrates.”

Damaschke added the education and experience he gained as Illinois Wesleyan prepared him well for a career in theater.

Damaschke's company also produced "Moulin Rouge," which will make its Broadway debut this summer.

“I’m so happy that I had the small school experience where it was very much a boutique in many ways and really got to go deep on so many topics as well as having a liberal arts education as something I draw back on,” Damaschke said.

The Tony award winners will be announced June 9.

The New York Times named Damaschke one of the film industry's most important executives in 2013.

He's been involved in the productions of "Pocahontas," "Shark Tale," "Kung Fu Panda," "Shrek the Musical" and many others.

Damaschke was presented with IWU’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011. He spoke at the university’s commencement in 2016.

GLT's full interview.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.