Hit Musical The Prom Is Being Turned into a Movie

Annie Goldsmith
·5 mins read
Photo credit: @mrrpmurphy
Photo credit: @mrrpmurphy

From Town & Country

There's no doubt that 2020 has been the year of the movie-musical. From Hamilton to the upcoming Diana filmed production, streaming platforms are bringing Broadway to homes around the nation. Given that theaters will be closed for the foreseeable future, it makes sense that there are even more movie adaptations to come. One such upcoming feature is The Prom, a film version of the Tony-nominated musical.

With director Ryan Murphy (of Glee, Hollywood, and The Politician) at the helm and an all-star cast on screen, Netflix is surely pulling out all the stops for the feature. Here, we share everything we know about The Prom.

The movie will be based on the Broadway musical.

The Prom debuted on Broadway in 2018 and garnered seven Tony Award nominations. Though it closed in 2019, it is expected to have a national tour in 2021. The storyline follows a lesbian student, Emma, barred from taking her girlfriend to her conservative Indiana high school's prom. After hearing about Emma's predicament, a group of Broadway actors travel to Indiana to advocate for Emma (and to rehabilitate their own careers).

The musical debuted to critical acclaim. The New York Times review noted, "With its kinetic dancing, broad mugging and belty anthems, it makes you believe in musical comedy again."

Photo credit: Walter McBride - Getty Images
Photo credit: Walter McBride - Getty Images

We expect the movie's screenplay to stay somewhat close to the original, as it's penned by the musical's book writers, Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin. Music and lyrics were written by Beguelin and Matthew Sklar and, as Murphy previously shared, the musical's entire song list made it into the feature.

Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, James Corden, and Nicole Kidman lead the cast.

It's hard to imagine a more star-packed cast than this. Meryl Streep is set to play Dee Dee Allen, one of the Broadway performers and the star of a flop musical about Eleanor Roosevelt. Corden, Kidman, and Tony Award-winning actor Andrew Rannells will play the other Broadway veterans (Barry Glickman, Angie Dickinson, and Trent Oliver, respectively), venturing to Indiana.

“I am watching Meryl Streep and James Corden do work—like, I am just going, ‘Whaaaat,’” Kidman said, referencing working with her famous co-stars.

Photo credit: John Shearer - Getty Images
Photo credit: John Shearer - Getty Images

Additionally, Keegan-Michael Key is set to play Tom Hawkins, the Indiana school's principal, and Washington will portray Mrs. Greene, a member of the school's PTA. “I play a complex character,” Washington said. “There’s a little bit of a dark side to her, so I’m into it.”

The movie's prom-bound high schoolers will be played by Jo Ellen Pellman, who will star as Emma, and Ariana DeBose as her girlfriend, Alyssa.

Photo credit: Jason Kempin - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jason Kempin - Getty Images

Murphy recently posted an Instagram of the cast in costume. "Meet the incredible icon-packed cast of Netflix's THE PROM," the caption noted. "A group of true troopers who buckled up and finished shooting during COVID so we could give everybody an inspirational aspirational story that we all need right now."

Ryan Murphy is directing the Netflix feature.

The Prom is Murphy's latest project for Netflix, where the writer-director-producer reportedly has a $300 million deal. Murphy's most recent projects for the screener include The Politician and Hollywood, both original series. He is also known for his previous work, like Glee and American Horror Story.

The Prom is a particularly special project for Murphy, as its themes resonate with his own teenage experience. Murphy, too, grew up in Indiana and was not allowed to bring his boyfriend to prom.

Photo credit: Jason LaVeris - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jason LaVeris - Getty Images

“I went with my best female friend, and as a protest I wore six-inch yellow platform boots as a tribute to Bananarama, so I got a little radical renegade-ness in,” he told Variety. “But I was talking to the producer [Bill Damaschke] after the show, and I said, ‘I wish there had been something like this for me when I was that age so that I didn’t feel so alone.’”

Production recently finished, following COVID-19 delays.

When the pandemic forced an industry-wide (and worldwide) shutdown, The Prom had just two days left of shooting. In late July, though, the movie was able to finish production while complying with social distancing guidelines and new safety protocols. Murphy's Instagram post noted that shooting had finished, as he complimented the cast on their hard work and resilience during this time.

The movie will include a new song.

The film adaptation will feature all of the songs from the original musical, plus a brand new song.

Murphy spoke about the musical addition. "That was really fun to work on and it’s a great ballad, and it’s really a moving song about acceptance and prejudice. I think a lot of people will love it," he told Collider. "Yeah, we kept every song and we added one, which is a lot, but it’s fun, worth it."

It's looking like The Prom will debut by the end of the year.

Murphy's Instagram post implied a Christmas release date. The caption's last line says, "Christmas is just around the corner..."

However, before COVID-19 forced production to shut down, the director was originally hoping for a fall 2020 release. Murphy told Variety he was planning on a September premier, in the hopes of “changing hearts, minds, and votes” before the 2020 election.

The movie will be available on Netflix, but it's unclear whether it will also play in theaters or drive-ins, as well.

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