The Prom (musical)

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The Prom
The Prom Playbill.jpg
2018 Broadway Playbill
MusicMatthew Sklar
LyricsChad Beguelin
BookBob Martin
Chad Beguelin
BasisOriginal concept
by Jack Viertel
PremiereAugust 18, 2016: Alliance Theatre, Atlanta
Productions2016 Atlanta
2018 Broadway

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 long-ago famous Broadway actors as they travel to the fictional conservative town of Edgewater, Indiana, after reading about a lesbian student who was not allowed to bring her girlfriend to high school prom. They want to help, but mostly they want to soak up the good press and be relevant again.

The musical made its world premiere at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2016 and premiered on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre in October 2018.


Atlanta (2016)[edit]

The show played the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta from August 18 to September 25, 2016. Casey Nicholaw is the director and choreographer, with sets by Scott Pask, costumes by Ann Roth and Matthew Pachtman, lighting by Kenneth Posner and sound by Peter Hylenski.[2][3]

Broadway (2018)[edit]

The show began previews at the Longacre Theatre on October 23, 2018, with an official opening on November 15, 2018.[4][5][6]


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 do not understand their characters since they are too self involved, resulting in the show closing on opening night. To improve their image, the actors decide to take up "a cause" to appear selfless. They team up with two other actor friends, Trent Oliver, who is an actor and Juilliard School graduate down on his luck but who has just been cast in the non-Equity tour of Godspell and Angie Dickinson, a life long chorus girl who just quit her job of 20 years in the musical Chicago after the producers never let her go on for the role of Roxie Hart. After searching on Twitter for a cause, they find the story of Emma, a teenager from Indiana who got her school's prom cancelled because she wanted to bring her same-sex partner. Seeing the opportunity, and some personal connection, the actors decide to go to Indiana to help ("Changing Lives (Reprise)").

Back in Indiana, Emma faces severe bullying, but she reminds herself to breathe and 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 States Attorney and that he believes they have a good shot. The school holds a meeting with the PTA to discuss having the prom. As Emma and Mr. Hawkins begin to make progress, Dee Dee, Barry, Angie, and Trent barge in with protest signs to support Emma. Dee Dee reminds everyone what a good person she is for doing this while claiming that this isn't about her humiliating Emma ("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 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 either and that she 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 cast of Godspell that Trent is on tour with ("The Acceptance Song"). The performance is unsuccessful.

It is later learned that the state's attorney ruled that the school must hold a prom. Emma thanks the actors, and Mr. Hawkins and Dee Dee go to Applebee's to celebrate. With the prom back on, students begin to "prompose" to each other. Emma officially asks Alyssa to this new 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 prom and reveals he didn't have the opportunity to go to prom either. Meanwhile across the town other teens prepare for the prom as well ("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 gym is empty. Mr. Hawkins, who is inside desperately trying to resolve the issue, reveals that the PTA put on another prom across town and this one just for Emma as required by law. Dee Dee panics that this fake prom will be bad press for her, which angers Mr. Hawkins as he learns about 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 gymnasium, asking all the actors to just go home ("Tonight Belongs to You (Reprise)").

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 by teaching her about zazz, a technique she learned with Bob Fosse ("Zazz"). Dee Dee returns to talk to Mr. Hawkins, who berates her for being so self centered. She performs his favorite song by her 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 that she blames her 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 refuses, telling 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 own experience missing prom the first time ("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, forcing the school to reconsider. The actors want Emma to finally have a prom but the school doesn't have the money for it.

The actors all donate, including Dee Dee, who donates $10,000. The PTA is furious over the possibility of a new prom but the students voice their support for an inclusive prom, having had their minds changed by Trent. The school, seeing how good Trent is with the kids, offers him a position as a 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 LGBT 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]


The original Broadway cast recording of The Prom was digitally released on December 14, 2018. The physical album released on January 11, 2019.[7]

Characters and original cast[edit]

Character Atlanta (2016) Broadway (2018)[8]
Barry Glickman Brooks Ashmanskas
Dee Dee Allen Beth Leavel
Trent Oliver Christopher Sieber
Emma Nolan Caitlin Kinnunen
Alyssa Greene Anna Grace Barlow Isabelle McCalla
Tom Hawkins Martin Moran Michael Potts
Angie Dickinson Angie Schworer
Mrs. Greene Courtenay Collins
Sheldon Saperstein Josh Lamon
Ashley (renamed Shelby in Broadway production) Collins Conley Kalyn West
Mandy (renamed Kaylee in Broadway production) Becca Lee
Olivia Keating Courtney Balan
Kevin Kevin Csolak Drew Redington
Nick Boomer Teddy Toye
Second Reporter
Motel Clerk Josh Franklin

Critical reception[edit]

The Prom was the first musical of the 2018–2019 Broadway season to be named a New York Times Critics Pick.[9]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
Tony Awards Best Musical Pending
Best Book of a Musical Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin Pending
Best Original Score Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar Pending
Best Leading Actor in a Musical Brooks Ashmanskas Pending
Best Leading Actress in a Musical Caitlin Kinnunen Pending
Beth Leavel Pending
Best Direction of a Musical Casey Nicholaw Pending
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Pending
Outstanding Book of a Musical Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin Pending
Outstanding Lyrics Chad Beguelin Pending
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Brooks Ashmanskas Pending
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Beth Leavel Pending
Outer Critics Circle Awards[10] 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[11] Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Nominated
Distinguished Performance Award Brooks Ashmanskas Nominated
Beth Leavel Nominated Audience Awards[12] 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

Film adaptation[edit]

On April 9, 2019, at a benefit performance of the show hosted by filmmaker and TV stalwart Ryan Murphy, Murphy announced his intentions to adapt the show to a film for Netflix.[13]

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. ^ Rizzo, Frank (September 8, 2016). "Atlanta Theater Review: 'The Prom,' Directed by Casey Nicholaw". Variety. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  3. ^ Brock, Wendell (September 9, 2016). "'The Prom' has a date with Broadway". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  4. ^ McPhee, Ryan (October 20, 2017). "Musical Comedy The Prom Will Open on Broadway in 2018". Playbill. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  5. ^ Paulson, Michael (October 20, 2017). "'The Prom' Gets a Date for Broadway". The New York Times. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  6. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Read Reviews for New Musical 'The Prom 'on Broadway" Playbill, November 15, 2018
  7. ^ Clement, Olivia. "The Prom to Release Broadway Cast Recording". Playbill. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  8. ^ McPhee, Ryan (May 3, 2018). "Full Cast Set for Broadway's The Prom | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  9. ^ "'The Prom' Review: Bringing Jazz Hands to the Heartland". Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  10. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (April 23, 2019). "Hadestown, Tootsie & Oklahoma! Lead 2019 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations". Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  11. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (April 17, 2019). "Nominations Announced for 85th Annual Drama League Awards". Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  12. ^ Evans, George (April 19, 2019). "'Be More Chill', 'Pretty Woman' Top Broadway's Audience Choice Awards". Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  13. ^ Gardner, Chris (April 9, 2019). "Ryan Murphy Sets Movie Adaptation of Hit Broadway Musical 'The Prom' at Netflix". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 9, 2019.

External links[edit]