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The Prom (musical)

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The Prom
Original Broadway Poster
MusicMatthew Sklar
LyricsChad Beguelin
BookBob Martin
Chad Beguelin
BasisOriginal concept
by Jack Viertel
PremiereAugust 18, 2016: Alliance Theatre, Atlanta
Productions2016 Atlanta
2018 Broadway
2021 US tour
2022 Mexico City
AwardsDrama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical

The Prom is a musical with music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, and a book by Bob Martin and Beguelin, based on an original concept by Jack Viertel.[1] The musical follows four Broadway actors lamenting their days of fame, as they travel to the conservative town of Edgewater, Indiana, to help a lesbian student banned from bringing her girlfriend to high school prom.

The musical had a tryout at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2016 and premiered on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre in October 2018.

A film adaptation, produced and directed by Ryan Murphy, was released on Netflix on December 11, 2020.


In 2010, Constance McMillen was a senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi.[2] She had plans to bring her girlfriend to their senior prom and wear a tuxedo, and in response, was banned from attending by the school board. McMillen challenged the board's decision; in response, the board decided to entirely cancel that year's senior prom. McMillen and the ACLU sued her school district, and a federal court found the Itawamba School District guilty of violating McMillen's First Amendment rights.[3] However, the judge did not force the school district to reinstate the prom.

The board did eventually allow McMillen to attend prom, but the event, held at a local country club, was attended by only seven students. Local parents quietly organized a separate prom for the rest of the students, making sure to keep the location secret to avoid media attention.

Celebrities—such as Green Day, Cat Cora, and Lance Bass—rallied together via social media to show their support for McMillen and agreed to help sponsor a "Second-Chance" prom, where McMillen and her girlfriend could attend without homophobic backlash.[4]


Atlanta (2016)[edit]

The show played the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta from August 18 to September 25, 2016. Casey Nicholaw was director and choreographer, with set design by Scott Pask, costumes by Ann Roth and Matthew Pachtman, lighting by Kenneth Posner and sound by Peter Hylenski.[5][6]

Broadway (2018)[edit]

The show began previews at the Longacre Theatre on October 23, 2018, with an official opening on November 16, 2018.[7][8][9] The production closed on August 11, 2019, having played 24 previews and 310 regular performances.[10] The production cost $13.5 million to stage and did not recoup its investment.[11]

U.S. tour (2021)[edit]

A national tour of The Prom was expected to begin February 2021 in Providence, Rhode Island.[12] It was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It launched on November 2, 2021, at Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio,[13] The tour played over 20 cities concluding in October 2022.[14]

U.S Regional Premiere (2022)

The first professional regional production was at White Plains Performing Arts Center in October of 2022.

Switzerland (2021)[edit]

The Le Théâtre Emmen produced a version of the musical in Swiss German which ran from December 11, 2021 until January 16, 2022. The translation by Nico Rabenald (German), Andréas Härry (Swiss German dialogues), Irène Straub and Silvio Wey (Swiss German lyrics)[15] made some notable changes: instead of Edgewater, Indiana, the musical is set in the Lucerne hinterland. Also, the four actors aren't from Broadway, but from the German musical hub Hamburg.[16]


Act One[edit]

The musical opens on Broadway, where Eleanor!: The Eleanor Roosevelt Story is celebrating its opening night with its lead cast members Dee Dee Allen and Barry Glickman ("Changing Lives"). The musical is bashed by The New York Times because Dee Dee and Barry are self-absorbed narcissists who do not understand their characters, and the show closes the same night. To improve their image, the actors decide to take up "a cause" that will make them appear selfless. They team up with two other washed-up actors — Trent Oliver, a Juilliard School graduate down on his luck who has just been cast in the non-Equity tour of Godspell, and Angie Dickinson, a life-long chorus girl who just quit after 20 years in the musical Chicago. Searching on Twitter, they find Emma, an Indiana teenager whose prom has been cancelled because she wanted to bring her girlfriend as her date. Seizing the opportunity, the actors decide to go to Indiana to help ("Changing Lives (Reprise)").

In Indiana, Emma faces severe bullying, but she reminds herself that not everyone is this cruel ("Just Breathe"). Mr. Hawkins, the school principal and Emma's ally, informs her that he has spoken to the state attorney general in hopes of reinstating the prom. The school holds a meeting with the homophobic PTA, but just as Emma and Mr. Hawkins begin to make progress, Dee Dee, Barry, Angie, and Trent barge in with protest signs in support of Emma. Dee Dee reminds everyone what a good person she is for doing this while claiming that this isn't about herself. Emma feels humiliated ("It's Not About Me"). After the meeting, it is revealed that the girl Emma wants to take to prom is Alyssa, a popular but closeted student and the daughter of Mrs. Greene, the head of the PTA. The two argue as Alyssa blames Emma for all the publicity around the prom but Emma reassures her that she didn't want this and just wants to be with her ("Dance with You"). The actors attempt to hold a rally to inspire action for Emma but can only book the halftime show at a monster truck rally. They perform alongside the non-Equity tour cast of Godspell ("The Acceptance Song"). Their performance is unsuccessful as the crowd boos them offstage.

The attorney general orders the PTA to organize a new prom. Emma thanks the actors, and Mr. Hawkins and Dee Dee go to Applebee's to celebrate, while students begin to "prompose" to each other. Emma invites Alyssa to the prom, and she agrees, promising to come out to be with her ("You Happened"). At Applebee's, Mr. Hawkins, a huge fan of Dee Dee's, tells her how much she inspires him ("We Look to You"). Barry helps Emma get ready for the prom and reveals he didn't have the opportunity to go to prom either after running away from home. Meanwhile, across town, other teens prepare for the prom ("Tonight Belongs to You"). As Emma waits outside the gym, she asks Barry to walk her in because she is nervous. As they enter, they realize that the school gym is empty. Mr. Hawkins, who is inside desperately trying to resolve the issue, reveals that the PTA lied to him and have secretly moved the prom across town. Dee Dee panics that the fake prom will be bad press for her, which angers Mr. Hawkins as he realizes Dee Dee's true intentions. Emma calls Alyssa who tells her she knew nothing about the other prom. Emma asks her to come and be with her, but she refuses to come out. Devastated, Emma runs out of the gym, asking all the actors to just go home.

Act Two[edit]

Following the fake prom, the media frenzy around the whole event increases. The actors encourage Emma to step up and become the face of the story, but she is too scared. Angie encourages her with a quick lesson about "zazz", which she complements with a story about Bob Fosse and the original production of Chicago ("Zazz"). Dee Dee returns to talk to Mr. Hawkins, who berates her for being so self-centered. She performs his favorite song to make it up to him and vows to begin thinking of others ("The Lady's Improving"). Trent decides that he may be able to change the minds of the youth of the town due to his small-town upbringing. He confronts a number of the students about how they and their families break the word of the Bible every day and how hypocritical they are being. He encourages them to follow "love thy neighbor" above all ("Love Thy Neighbor").

Alyssa meets with Emma to apologize, telling her about all the pressure her mother puts on her to be perfect and how she blames Alyssa for her father leaving. Emma is unable to accept her apology and they break up ("Alyssa Greene"). The actors book Emma a TV appearance, but she turns it down and tells them that she has her own plan to control the narrative and change minds. Convinced her plan will work and that they will be able to have a prom for everyone, Emma asks Barry to be her date so that he is finally able to fulfill his dream. Barry, overjoyed, agrees as he recounts his experience missing his own prom ("Barry Is Going to Prom"). Emma uploads a video of her singing with her guitar about her struggles and longing for acceptance, but how despite that she is proud of who she is and won't hide anymore. She inspires other members of the LGBTQ+ community in the area and across the country to comment on their support for her and how it has helped them ("Unruly Heart"). The video goes viral, inspiring the actors to plan an inclusive prom for Emma and all the LGBTQ+ kids across the state. However, Mr. Hawkins realizes that the school doesn't have enough money to pay for it.

The actors all donate, including Dee Dee, who turns over her American Express Black card. The PTA attempts to block the new prom but are stopped from doing so when the students voice their support, thanks to Trent's efforts to change their minds. The students suggest Trent stay in Indiana and become their drama teacher. Alyssa comes out to her mother in front of the school, confessing her love for Emma. Mrs. Greene is reluctant to accept Alyssa as she is, but Barry steps in, saying if she doesn't accept Alyssa, she is going to lose her. She is devastated but begins to become more open and agrees to listen to her daughter. The PTA backs down, and quickly makes plans for a new prom, while Dee Dee and Barry question what "success" is. The school puts on this more inclusive prom and LGBTQ+ couples from the area attend, along with the straight couples of James Madison High School. Emma and Alyssa finally get their dance and share a kiss ("It's Time to Dance").

Musical numbers[edit]

† - Notes a song not included on the original Broadway cast recording.


The original Broadway cast recording of The Prom was digitally released on December 14, 2018. The physical album was released on January 11, 2019.[17]

Characters and casts[edit]

Character Atlanta Broadway[18] Film Version[19] US National Tour[20] Mexico City
2016 2018 2020 2021
Emma Nolan Caitlin Kinnunen Jo Ellen Pellman Kaden Kearney Brenda Santabalbina
Dee Dee Allen Beth Leavel Meryl Streep Courtney Balan Anahí Allué

Susana Zavaleta

Samantha Salgado

Barry Glickman Brooks Ashmanskas James Corden Patrick Wetzel Gerardo González
Alyssa Greene Anna Grace Barlow Isabelle McCalla Ariana DeBose Kalyn West Dai Liparoti

Pahola Escalera

Trent Oliver Christopher Sieber Andrew Rannells Bud Weber Mauricio Salas

Jose Luis Rodriguez "Guana" Esteban Provenzano

Angie Dickinson Angie Schworer Nicole Kidman Emily Borromeo Marien Caballero

Majo Perez

Tom Hawkins Martin Moran Michael Potts Keegan-Michael Key Sinclair Mitchell Beto Torres
Mrs. Greene Courtenay Collins Kerry Washington Ashanti J'Aria Samantha Salgado
Sheldon Saperstein Josh Lamon Kevin Chamberlin Shavey Brown Oscar Carapia

Freddy Ortega

Notable Replacements[edit]


Critical reception[edit]

The Prom was the first musical of the 2018–2019 Broadway season to be named a New York Times Critics Pick, with Jesse Green calling it "such a joyful hoot. With its kinetic dancing, broad mugging and belty anthems, it makes you believe in musical comedy again."[22]

Frank Rizzo, writing for Variety wrote that "with a tuneful score, a playful book, and performances that remind you what Broadway heart and chutzpah are all about, this cause celebre of a show turns out to be a joyous, funny, and sweet production that should appeal to several generations of musical fans."[23]

New York Magazine's Sara Holdren wrote: "There’s such genuine joy rolling off the stage in The Prom that you’re ready and willing to forgive it its minor misfires... Did I shed several real tears in The Prom’s final scene? Maybe I did… I also seldom stopped laughing. The show is full of witty delights."[24]

Adam Feldman of Time Out Magazine gave the show 4 out of 5 stars, saying "It is cheering to see a musical comedy that engages with modern questions, with a teenage lesbian romance at its center to boot... But while the issues are contemporary, there is a 1980s feel to the character types and the overall style of Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar’s score, which resembles their work in The Wedding Singer; a stronger dose of reality in the lyrics and the book (by Beguelin and Bob Martin) would better justify the show’s eventual turn to sentimental education. But Casey Nicholaw’s peppy direction helps give the show enough momentum to power past its narrative potholes and occasional bumps of heavy-handedness."[25]

In The Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney called the show “one part satire, packed with delicious theatrical in-jokes delivered with aplomb by game stage veterans playing caricatures of themselves; and one part inclusivity teaching moment, reminding us there's a place for everyone beneath the Mylar balloons at a high school dance, even in conservative Indiana. If the two halves aren't entirely seamless, especially in the uneven second act, the show has enough humor and heart to paper over the cracks."[26]


Actresses Caitlin Kinnunen and Isabelle McCalla's kiss during The Prom's performance of "Time to Dance" at the 2018 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade received significant media attention for being the first LGBTQ kiss in the parade's broadcast history.[27][28][29][30][31]

On August 3, 2019, after a performance of the show at the Longacre Theatre, Broadway’s first-known onstage wedding ceremony occurred, between Armelle Kay Harper, a script coordinator on the show, and Jody Kay Smith, a singer and actress who had recently worked with the show's musical director. It was a same-sex wedding.[32]

On June 17, 2019, New York/London Theatrical Licensing Agency Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW) acquired and announced the representation of The Prom for the ongoing licensing of the show for professional and amateur productions around the world. [33] The musical joins TRW's catalogue of Broadway and West End shows including Jersey Boys, Monty Python's Spamalot, The Addams Family, The Color Purple, Million Dollar Quartet, and others.[34]

In the fall of 2022, West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Florida, became the first educational institution to perform the show, taking it to the Florida State Thespian Festival mainstage on March 17, 2023. Their production was reviewed favorably by BroadwayWorld.[35]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2019 Tony Awards Best Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin Nominated
Best Original Score Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar Nominated
Best Leading Actor in a Musical Brooks Ashmanskas Nominated
Best Leading Actress in a Musical Caitlin Kinnunen Nominated
Beth Leavel Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Casey Nicholaw Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Won
Outstanding Book of a Musical Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin Nominated
Outstanding Lyrics Chad Beguelin Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Brooks Ashmanskas Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Beth Leavel Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards[36] Outstanding New Broadway Musical Nominated
Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Brooks Ashmanskas Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Beth Leavel Nominated
Drama League Awards[37] Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Nominated
Distinguished Performance Award Brooks Ashmanskas Nominated
Beth Leavel Nominated
Broadway.com Audience Awards[38] Favorite New Musical Nominated
Favorite Leading Actress in a Musical Caitlin Kinnunen Nominated
Beth Leavel Nominated
Favorite Funny Performance Nominated
Brooks Ashmanskas Nominated
Favorite Diva Performance Nominated
Favorite Onstage Pair Caitlin Kinnunen and Isabelle McCalla Nominated
Favorite Breakthrough Performance (Female) Isabelle McCalla Nominated
Favorite New Song "Dance With You" Nominated

Mexico City Production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2022 "ACPT" Awards (Mexico) Outsanding Musical Marte Calderón and Chema Verduzco Won
Best Leading Actress in a Musical Anahí Allué Won
Best Leading Actor in a Musical Gerardo Gonzalez Won
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Majo Perez Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical Beto Torres Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical Jose Luis Rodriguez "Guana" Nominated
Female Revelation Brenda Santabalbina Won
Book Adaptation Anabel Dueñas and Carlos Magaña Won
Production Design Miguel Moreno Mati Nominated
Outstanding Company Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Diego del Rio and Chema Verduzco Won
2022 Metropolitan Theater Awards

"Metro Award" (México)

Outstanding Musical Marte Calderón and Chema Verduzco Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Dai Liparoti Nominated
Best Leading Actress in a Musical Anahí Allué Won
Best Leading Actor in a Musical Gerardo Gonzalez Won
Best Choreography Alejandro Antillón and Vicky Araico Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Diego del Rio and Chema Verduzco Nominated
Best Production Design in a Musical Miguel Moreno Mati Nominated
Best Lighting Design in a Musical José Luis Núñez Nominated
Best Costume Design in a Musical Estela Fagoaga Nominated
Best Sound Design Miguel Jiménez Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bryant, Kenzie (June 13, 2018). "First Look: The Prom Will Bring Gay Teen Romantic Farce to Broadway This Fall". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  2. ^ Montgomery, James. "Green Day Hope To 'Force Change' By Sponsoring Prom For Gay Teen". MTV News. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  3. ^ "Court Rules That Mississippi School Violated First Amendment Rights Of Lesbian Student". American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  4. ^ "MSSC Second Chance Prom: A Second Chance for Equality". ACLU of Mississippi. March 7, 2017. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  5. ^ Rizzo, Frank (September 8, 2016). "Atlanta Theater Review: 'The Prom,' Directed by Casey Nicholaw". Variety. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  6. ^ Brock, Wendell (September 9, 2016). "'The Prom' has a date with Broadway". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  7. ^ McPhee, Ryan (October 20, 2017). "Musical Comedy The Prom Will Open on Broadway in 2018". Playbill. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  8. ^ Paulson, Michael (October 20, 2017). "'The Prom' Gets a Date for Broadway". The New York Times. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  9. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Read Reviews for New Musical 'The Prom 'on Broadway" Playbill, November 15, 2018
  10. ^ McPhee, Ryan (August 11, 2019). "Last Dance: The Prom Ends Broadway Run". Playbill. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  11. ^ Evans, Greg (June 19, 2019). "Broadway's 'The Prom' Announces Closing; Surprise Heart-Tugger Has Date With Netflix & The Road". Deadline. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  12. ^ McPhee, Ryan (June 17, 2019). "Broadway's The Prom Will Embark on a National Tour". Playbill. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  13. ^ Paul, Smith (September 30, 2021). "Full Casting Announced for The Prom National Tour". Broadway Direct. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  14. ^ "Tour". The Prom | Broadway’s New Musical Comedy | Official Site. Retrieved November 6, 2021.
  15. ^ "Die Darstellerinnen und Darsteller des Musicals DER BALL im Le Théâtre". Le Théâtre, Emmen (in German). Retrieved January 9, 2022.
  16. ^ "DER BALL (The Prom) - das Musical, Schweizer Premiere im Le Théâtre". Le Théâtre, Emmen (in German). Retrieved January 9, 2022.
  17. ^ Clement, Olivia. "The Prom to Release Broadway Cast Recording". Playbill. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  18. ^ McPhee, Ryan (May 3, 2018). "Full Cast Set for Broadway's The Prom | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  19. ^ The Prom (2020) - IMDb, retrieved May 5, 2023
  20. ^ Smith, Paul (September 30, 2021). "Full Casting Announced For The Prom National Tour". Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  21. ^ McPhee, Ryan (June 27, 2019). "Michael Genet to Join Broadway's The Prom". Playbill. Retrieved January 5, 2024.
  22. ^ Green, Jesse (November 15, 2018). "'The Prom' Review: Bringing Jazz Hands to the Heartland". The New York Times. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  23. ^ Rizzo, Frank. "Broadway Review: The Prom" Variety, November 15, 2018
  24. ^ Holdren, Sara (November 15, 2018). "Theater Review: The Prom, Where Theater Geeks Belt Away Without Shame". www.vulture.com. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  25. ^ "The Prom | Longacre Theatre | Theater in New York". Time Out New York. November 15, 2018. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  26. ^ "'The Prom': Theater Review". The Hollywood Reporter. November 15, 2018. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  27. ^ Chasmar, Jessica (November 23, 2018). "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade airs 'first LGBTQ kiss' in parade's history". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on November 24, 2018. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  28. ^ Henderson, Cydney (November 22, 2018). "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade earns praise for broadcasting same-sex kiss". USA Today. Archived from the original on November 30, 2018. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  29. ^ Gilchrist, Tracy E. (November 22, 2018). "The Prom's Same-Sex Kiss Makes History at Macy's Thanksgiving Parade". The Advocate. Archived from the original on May 2, 2019. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  30. ^ Quinn, Dave (November 23, 2018). "Thanksgiving Day Parade Airs First Same-Sex Kiss and Some Conservative Viewers Weren't Thankful". People. Archived from the original on May 10, 2019.
  31. ^ BroadwayTVArchive (November 24, 2018). "Time to Dance" - The Prom (Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2018 NBC) (Videotape). YouTube. Archived from the original on January 23, 2022. Retrieved January 23, 2022.
  32. ^ Gilchrist, Tracy E. (August 5, 2019). "The Prom Makes Broadway Herstory by Ending in Actual Same-Sex Marriage". The Advocate. Archived from the original on August 6, 2019. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  33. ^ "'The Prom' is Closing on Broadway—Here's How It Will Live on After itItsast Performance". Forbes.
  34. ^ "The Prom".
  35. ^ Nason, Peter. "Review: West Orange High School Thespian Troupe 1983 Makes History With Their Production of THE PROM". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved March 25, 2023.
  36. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (April 23, 2019). "Hadestown, Tootsie & Oklahoma! Lead 2019 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations". Broadway.com. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  37. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (April 17, 2019). "Nominations Announced for 85th Annual Drama League Awards". Broadway.com. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  38. ^ Evans, George (April 19, 2019). "'Be More Chill', 'Pretty Woman' Top Broadway's Audience Choice Awards". Broadway.com. Retrieved May 19, 2019.

External links[edit]