Katy Perry: A theatrical production


Katy Perry has matured and evolved since her sophomore album, Teenage Dream, not just in her music, but in her arena presence as well. As great as her California Dreams Tour was, from the candy-coated fashion, lollipop-prop-laden stage and storytelling interludes, the Prismatic World Tour takes concerts to a new level. Every fantastic theatric I’ve seen at a concert was integrated into this one act.

Walking into the arena, the stage is breathtaking enough. The large, triangle-shaped stage features catwalks that extend the stage halfway down the arena. The catwalks are conveyer belts. There is a huge triangle-shaped backdrop on stage for interludes to play on.

Perry enters through a prism that opens up to reveal her. Her dress and hair light up and her and her dancers skip with lighted ropes to her song Roar. Her dancers use a triangle-shaped prop to dance to the song. During Wide Awake, a triangle-shaped part of the stage raises Perry high up and rotates. This Moment features laser lighting.

She reenters the stage on a golden horse for her song Dark Horse. She gets off and wields a whip before disappearing from one side of the stage and showing up on the other . While she is gone, a recording of Juicy J as a Sphinx plays on the backdrop. During ET, her dancers do acrobatics on a prism-shaped metal cage, which she is eventually hoisted up on and spun around. During I Kissed A Girl, her two guitar players are harnessed and raised into the air. As they played, the heads of their guitars shot fireworks while fire arose from the stage below.


The backdrop becomes loaded cats (including a cat that spills his alcohol by the pool while checking out another cat). Perry appears dressed in a pink and glittering catsuit, atop a knitted ball, to sing a Cats-esque Broadway-style rendition of Hot N’ Cold. The stage is laden with cat posts as props. Her dancers wear full cat costumes. While she performs International Smile, a cat version of one of her best friends, who the song is based on, plays on the backdrop behind her. Madonna’s song Vogue plays as Perry and her dancers strut along the runway before Perry sits and has “milk” poured all over her.

She returns to the stage in a gorgeous butterfly dress with rainbow hair and talks with fans. She takes a selfie with a fan in the Reflection Section, and gives a pizza to a young fan in general admission. As she sings among flower props, her dancers wave fabric butterflies in the air below a flower-patterned ceiling blanket.


The next set is a dance party involving raver dancers and a DJ with a smiley face emoji on his head. Perry comes out in a smiley face outfit, atop a huge boom box. She flies over the Reflection Section, attached to a cloud harness during Walking on Air as her dancers wave a blue fabric over the Reflection Section. On the other side, she raises up, in a yin and yang dress to It Takes Two, to about twice her height, the mechanism raising her up hidden under her dress. After the song, six emoji and item balloons float around the arena (including a poop face emoji). She enters a blow-up car that goes around the runways to This Is How We Do. The next interlude features a literally artistic film of a paint-splattered Perry.

She appears in a bright neon green palm tree bikini to perform California Gurls.


After that she makes a hasty change into her birthday suit (a non-naked one). She brings a fan on stage and sits them in a birthday chair that raises on the stage while she sings Birthday to them. She’s then harnesses to birthday balloons that she fly around the arena on, taking her closer to her seated fans, as confetti flies out of canons.

For the encore Perry performs Firework, of course with fireworks. Her dress has firework designs on it as well. The audience puts on “Prism vision” glasses that make the performance more colourful and lit up than it already was. She leaves the stage the same way she originally entered, with the prism closing on her.

Some say that her concert copies Lady GaGa’s Born This Way Ball. Some accuse Perry of stealing GaGa’s stage, her green hair and her horse.


GaGa had a pentagon-shaped catwalk stage that made a Monster Pit for her biggest fans. Perry’s triangle-shaped catwalk stage holds her biggest fans in the middle of the stage, the Reflection Section. In 2009, three years before the Born This Way Ball started, U2 toured with a circular stage that went around their fans to create an inner pit as well. I wouldn’t call keeping up with innovations copying.

Perry first wore a green wig in 2010, years before GaGa debuted her own green hairdo on tour. With the number of wigs and hairstyles these artists burn through, I’m surprised anyone would think that sporting the same colour would be an intentional act of copying.

GaGa enters the Born This Way Ball on a unicorn that takes her around the catwalk. During Dark Horse, Perry enters the stage on a golden horse which moves a few steps to the side before letting her off. The horse in Perry’s performance is not nearly as prominent as GaGa’s Highway Unicorn (Road to Love) horse was. Who is surprised that the two most theatrical artists of our time used horses for their songs titled after horses in live performances?

Her performance is extremely high budget and it shows. It’s the most I’ve ever seen at one concert. Concerts are becoming these huge productions, and this is the best of the best so far. Perry has grown miles since her last tour, and I can’t wait to see how she is going to top this.

Samantha Faith VanDeventer

Fourth year communications major with an interest in entertainment reporting.


  • Daniella Javier
    Reply November 16, 2014

    Daniella Javier

    Her concerts sound mesmerizing! A friend of mine went to her last concert in Vancouver for The Prismatic World Tour and she definitely wants to go to another one of Katy’s concerts in the future. I’m not even a big fan of Katy Perry, but I would love to go to one of her concerts someday. I admire those performers that go the extra mile to please their fans with a variety of costumes,styles, dances, stages etc.

  • Sarah Khan
    Reply November 24, 2014

    Sarah Khan

    Great incorporation of photos! I really got a sense of how her concert was and the production value and performances look amazing. I also really enjoyed how you from experience, compared Perry’s performance and her concerts and pointed out how she has come along way as an artist and performer since her teenage dream tour. The comparison of a Katy Perry concert in contrast to Lady GaGa was very in-depth as well, I had no idea that there were so many similarities. You definitely are very well versed on these two artist and I found your piece very interesting and informative. 🙂

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