Audiences got their first look at Netflix’s star-studded musical “The Prom” with the release of a teaser trailer Thursday.
Due out Dec. 11, “The Prom” stars Meryl Streep and James Corden as Dee Dee Allen and Barry Glickman, two actors left unemployed after their new Broadway show flops. Together with down-on-their-luck performers Angie Dickinson (Nicole Kidman) and Trent Oliver (Andrew Rannells), Dee Dee and Barry catch a news report about Emma Nolan (Jo Ellen Pellman), a queer Midwestern teen who has been banned from taking her girlfriend, Alyssa (Ariana DeBose), to the senior prom.
The washed-up thespian foursome soon descend on the town of Edgewater, Indiana, to rally on Emma’s behalf. Their mission, however, is far from altruistic, as Dee Dee is hopeful that their actions will drum up enough headlines to undo her prima donna image and resurrect her show business career.
Watch the teaser trailer for “The Prom” above.
“The Prom,” which premiered on Broadway in 2018, held instant appeal for director and producer Ryan Murphy, one of the creative forces behind “Glee” and the recent stage-to-screen adaptation of “The Boys in the Band.” In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Murphy said his latest project is a throwback to the days of “Singin’ in the Rain.”
Writers Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin and composer Matthew Sklar have said the script and songs for “The Prom” were inspired by real-life cases in which LGBTQ teens were barred from attending dances and other events with same-sex dates. As both a gay man and an Indiana native, Murphy felt a personal connection to their stories.
“This movie is about, for these two young women, the first time they stood up for themselves and declared who they were and they got to go to their prom,” Murphy told EW. “I wish this movie existed when I was that age. Because I wasn’t allowed to go to my prom. Every person in the world has longed to have that experience go well and to be told, ‘You look great. You can love who you love, and all the adults around you support you,’ so I just think it’s a universal idea.”
Streep echoed those sentiments in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month. Though she previously showed off her song-and-dance chops in the 2008 all-ABBA movie musical “Mamma Mia!” and its 2018 sequel, the actor believes the all-inclusive message of “The Prom” will resonate more deeply given today’s divisive political climate.
“This is based on a real thing that happened to kids in Indiana, and has a happy ending, everything we dream of in 2020.” she told THR. “I wanted to do it.”
Though the Broadway production of “The Prom” earned glowing reviews and was nominated for seven Tony Awards, it also encountered a fair amount of early backlash. Just weeks into the musical’s run, the cast appeared at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to perform a high-energy number that culminated with the characters of Emma and Alyssa kissing.
While Murphy told EW that he isn’t concerned about similar repercussions for the movie, he’s nonetheless aware of the fact that it’s being released at a sobering time for the theater industry. Broadway theaters have been closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and live performances won’t resume until at least June 1, 2021.
With that in mind, a number of screenings of “The Prom” are being planned as fundraisers for the Actors Fund, a national human services organization currently focused on COVID-19 relief efforts for performing arts and entertainment professionals who are unable to work.
“One of the things that we’re trying to say with the movie is not only do we celebrate you, but we also see you and we feel your pain, and we’re going to be there to help you,” Murphy told EW.