Netflix’s The Prom wasn’t the first musical to attempt an adaptation from stage to screen and it wasn’t the most successful either, but it was the rollicking feel-good escape we needed during COVID-Christmas 2020, when few were feeling cheerful. It didn’t hurt that the cast had the GOAT, Meryl Streep, in the starring role, and some pretty formidable co-stars (we could’ve done without James Cordon’s faux gay play, though). Either way, Ryan Murphy’s film version presented a sassy semblance of what by all accounts was a dynamic Broadway theater spectacle. Now L.A. gets its chance to experience the vibrant national tour of the 2019 Drama Desk Award winner for Outstanding Musical thanks to Center Theatre Group and the Ahmanson Theatre.
The show stars real life couple Kaden Kearney as Emma and Kalyn West as Alyssa Greene, young lesbian loves who want to go to the prom together like any other high school couple in their small Midwestern town, but are shut down by the PTA. That is, until a famous yet fading New York stage star tries to change her image and get some good PR by getting involved with the cause. Directed and choreographed by Tony winner Casey Nicholaw (Aladdin, Mean Girls), it’s got a comedy-driven book by Tony winner Bob Martin (Elf, The Drowsy Chaperone) and Tony nominee Chad Beguelin (Aladdin) plus eye-popping sets, catchy tunes and high production value all around. With so much going for it and its important, timely themes of acceptance (it was loosely based on a true story), this version of The Prom has loads of promise, making it a hot date for theater lovers.
At the Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A., now thru Sept. 11. Performances run Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Masks required. Tickets and info at CenterTheatreGroup.org.
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