I was a tad bit skeptical going in as I was hearing mixed reviews. But I gotta say— LOVED it!
I remember reading a bit about the Broadway show and I thought it sounded like something I would want to see live. I also saw the finale scene in front of Macy’s during the thanksgiving day parade which solidified my wanting to see it.
But then I guess it closed. Or Covid caused it to close. Or both.
Then Netflix and Ryan Murphy came along. And a crazy all star cast. And it was available during Christmas break, so why not, eh?
Honestly, my biggest heartburn was over the casting. Meryl left such a poor taste in my mouth with Mamma Mia that I never wanted to see her sing again. And usually I find James Cordon to be a wee bit insufferable. And then there’s Nicole Kidman— like, can she even move her face enough to sing?
That said: I was totally fine with all of the performances. Especially Nicole.
But what I loved more than that was the whole. The Prom is everything I want in musical theater. Fun music. Big production numbers. A nice story. Heart. Villains that aren’t too far beyond redemption. Fun characters. Gayness. Snarkiness. Clever jabs at society. A good message.
And a big, sappy, fantastic, uplifting closing number.
The Prom is like Rent without the AIDS. Hairspray without the segregation. Mean Girls without the revenge. Dear Evan Hansen without the suicide. But it is patterned off elements in each; it borrowed their good and more uplifting elements.
I love the storyline of the narcissist Broadway celebs looking for a good PR moment. And that moment being tied to a lesbian teen who just wants to go to prom but the PTA bans her. I like the nowness of both those plots. And how the music numbers kind of skewer celebs while highlighting that small towns still have a lot of homophobia.
The characters learn and grow, tolerance is taught through cheeky, fun, musical numbers and you get a couple love stories, acceptance and a everyday girl being a heroine by just being tough enough to be herself.
And then there’s the music.
I’m not gonna lie— LOVE LOVE LOVE the score! Love. It. All. It’s memorable. Singable. Jazzy. Fun. And it does what I love best: when the melodies and motifs can be layered together during big numbers so you get a recapitulation of all the storylines… and all the feels.
The finale is a good case in point- it’s the big prom dance number “it’s time to dance” but it marries in ideas from unruly heart and the melody from the sweet love song “dance with you”. It feels very “You can’t stop the beat” from Hairspray, in the best way possible. It’s the curtain call for all the characters, the main girls get their prom (and their kids) and all it right and perfect with hope for the future.
God I loved it!
I loved it so much I bought the soundtrack (sorry, the Netflix one for the fun and polish and Emma’s voice) and I may have listened to it twice on my drive home yesterday.