(WIVB) – High school seniors throughout the state missed out on their proms this year due to the pandemic- but a Springville-Griffith Institute Class of 2020 grad is getting her wish to have a prom experience- at one of Buffalo’s biggest landmarks.
Shea’s Performing Arts Center will hold a “mini-prom” event Friday for Alexandrea Simmons and a small number of guests.
The event will be the first that Shea’s has held since the start of the pandemic, said Kevin Sweeney, director of marketing and communications for Shea’s.
“We’re really excited to have been asked that- we learned that this was one of [Simmons’] favorite places, so we were really honored by that,” Sweeney said.
The event was made possible through Sprinngville-Griffith Institute’s “Adopt-a-Senior” program.
“Since I graduated this year, we had to fill out this Google form, and one of the questions was “what do you want the most?”,” Simmons said. “I put “a prom” as a joke”.
Simmons’ friend and Springville Center for the Arts member Pamela Morley came through to give the grad her wish.
Morley and Simmons met through through the Springville Center for the Arts, partnering up for a a rendition of “Helpless” from the musical Hamilton for a Broadway revue.
“We just made an instant connection- I always felt like she was my younger sister, and she and her mom and me became close friends,” Morley said. “So when they did the “Adopt-a-Senior” program, it was my goal to give her that one gift.”
Morley reached out to many places for the event, and Shea’s responded.
“That had to be the perfect spot for her to have her prom,” Morley said.
Simmons purchased her prom dress in January.
“I’ve had the dress for quite a while, and I was kind of sad because I didn’t know if I’d be able to use it,” she added.
There will be 25 total guests at Friday’s “mini-prom” at Shea’s. The event will last three hours.
The theater is following all COVID-19 safety protocols “times ten”, Sweeney said- the guests will be seated at socially-distanced tables with lots of hand sanitizer, and there won’t be any dancing.
Food will be provided by Rich’s Catering and Special Events, guests will be able to have their picture taken. The marquee on Main Street will have a special message for the event.
“It’s going to be so nice to have people in the building again- we’re very much looking forward to it,” Sweeney said. “We miss our patrons.”