Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Ariana Grande to star in Netflix adaptation of the musical ‘The Prom’

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“The Prom” is closing on Broadway in August. [Photo by Deen Van Meer]

Three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep will be back in musical mode, starring alongside fellow Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman, global pop music superstar Ariana Grande and Tony and seven-time Emmy winner James Corden in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix adaptation of the hit Broadway show “The Prom.”

As part of his five-year deal with Netflix, Murphy (“Glee,” “American Horror Story”) will direct and produce the feature adaptation of “The Prom,” and according to Deadline, those aren’t the only big names involved in the cast, which puts the streaming service in a new stratosphere as far as star power.

Awkwafina, Keegan-Michael Key and Andrew Rannells will key roles in the screen version of the touching and comedic musical, too. According to Deadline, Murphy will start directing the film adaptation of the Broadway hit in December, for a fall 2020 awards season release in theaters before it airs on the Netflix.

“The Prom,” which earned seven Tony Award nominations this year, will play its final Broadway performance Aug. 11 at the Longacre Theatre. At the time of closing, the musical will have played 23 previews and 310 regular performances, according to Playbill.

The musical, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, opened officially Nov. 15, 2018. Prior to its Broadway debut, it premiered in Atlanta in 2016 at the Alliance Theatre.

The show features a book by Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin and a score by Beguelin and Matthew Sklar. Based on an original concept by Jack Viertel, “The Prom,” centers on four past-their-prime Broadway stars (played by Beth Leavel, Brooks Ashmanskas, Christopher Sieber and Angie Schworer) who arrive in a small Indiana town looking to help – and to become relevant again – after they read about a gay student (Caitlin Kinnunen) fighting for the chance to bring her girlfriend to the school prom.

“The Prom” was nominated at the Tonys for seven awards: Best Musical; Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, for Kinnunen and Leavel; Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for Ashmanskas; Best Direction of a Musical for Casey Nicholaw; Best Book of a Musical for Martin and Beguelin; and Best Original Score for Sklar (music) and Beguelin (lyrics).

The production didn’t win any Tonys, but it did win Outstanding Musical at the Drama Desk Awards.

In the Netflix adaptation of “The Prom,” Streep will play Dee Dee Allen (the role Leavel is playing on Broadway), a two-time Tony winner who teams with Barry Glickman (Corden succeeding Ashmanskas) in a flop musical about Eleanor Roosevelt. After career-ending reviews, they decide — along with fellow Broadway pros Angie Dickinson (Kidman in the part played by Schworer) and Trent Oliver (“The Book of Mormon’s” Rannells replacing Sieber) — to champion a cause to rehabilitate their careers. They find one in Emma, a high school senior in Indiana who isn’t allowed to take her girlfriend to the prom.

A nationwide search led by casting director Alexa Fogel is on to fill the role of Emma, originated by Kinnunen in her Tony-nominated breakout turn.

Grande will star as Alyssa, Emma’s love interest and the popular daughter of the head of the PTA. Awkwafina will play the group’s publicist Ms. Sheldon, and Key will play Emma’s ally – and Dee Dee’s love interest – Principal Hawkins.

According to Deadline, Murphy’s star-studded cast came together quickly this spring. All the actors were the director’s first choices, and each said “yes” quickly after seeing the Tony-nominated musical with its themes of inclusion and tolerance.

Murphy will produce the soundtrack along with Grande and her manager, Scooter Braun.

Adapting “The Prom” will cap a prolific year for Murphy, who has won a Golden Globe for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” a Peabody Award for “Pose” and a Tony Award for “Boys in the Band.”

In addition to the Netflix adaptation, “The Prom” will launch its national tour in February 2021, has secured a licensing deal with Theatrical Rights Worldwide, and will have a young adult novel inspired by the show released in September, according to Playbill.


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