If you're missing theatre, flip over to Netflix and throw on The Prom. That's the advice composer Matthew Sklar shares with Playbill in a virtual roundtable interview above with the musical's creators, also featuring book writer Bob Martin and lyricist Chad Beguelin, who co-wrote the movie's screenplay. The film is joyful, bright, and pays homage to the stage in nearly every frame.
It's not just for those who grew up loving theatre or are professionals in the industry, though. It's a balm at the end of what has been, for many, a trying year with the pandemic and a social justice reckoning bringing the world to a standstill.
"There's a sense that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, and I think this movie...shows you can make the world better simply by changing your point of your view, or understanding the consequences of your intolerance or decisions you've made, or simply by listening to the other side of the argument," says Martin.
As for bringing The Prom to the screen, the creators say adding characters like Emma's grandmother (played by Mary Kay Place) and Barry's mom (played by Tracy Ullman) enhances the story, as does showing the trip to Indiana and the monster truck rally. Plus, working with Ryan Murphy was a breeze, with the director often giving the go-ahead for whatever they wanted.
It’s not lost on the creators that The Prom is now available to audiences worldwide, instead of the limitations inevitably created by the number of seats in a theatre. “In the show, Emma writes the song ‘Unruly Heart,’ and it shows up [online] and people all over the world see it and now it’s almost reversed, now, people all over the world can see The Prom, which is exciting,” says Beguelin.
Learn more about The Prom, stories about working with the star-studded cast, and how they pulled off that monster truck rally scene above.
The Prom is now streaming on Netflix. The film stars Jo Ellen Pellman, Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells, Ariana DeBose, Keegan-Michael Key, Kerry Washington and Kevin Chamberlin.