Broadway vs. PTA
The Prom opens with two Broadway stars excited about the opening night of their latest musical play. It’s about Eleanor Roosevelt and FDR. They are eagerly waiting the reviews. These co-stars are played by Meryl Streep and James Corden. Now, be honest. Have you ever considered Streep and Corden as a musical comedy duo? Well, I haven’t. But after watching them ham it up together so hilariously, I want to see more of this incongruous team.
Although The Prom also deals with an important and sensitive theme, it never bogs down, and our two co-stars get camera time to show off their dramatic acting chops as well as their musical talents.
Both characters are narcissists with ultra-high levels of self-esteem. However, as they interact with non-Broadway folks during their work to help a high school student, each reveals deeper feelings they’’ve been hiding all along.
Streep and Corden can steal the show.
See “The Prom” and you will know.
Together they sing and they dance.
They each are funny with a glance.
Streep plays a diva with great flair.
Corden even jumps in the air.
When one of their plays gets bad press,
They start a project to impress.
They try to help a gay girl teen
whose prom was cancelled. Oh that’s mean!
Broadway actors take on PTA.
But will they win and save the day?
No matter how the film turns out
you’ll enjoy its musical clout.
Lots of pizzazz in The Prom’s many musical numbers boggles my mind, thanks to the original score by David Klotz and Matthew Sklar. Nicole Kidman, playing one of the Broadway crew, even sings a tribute to Bob Fosse’s “Zazz” in Chicago. But my favorite number shows Streep belting out “It’s Not About Me.” Of course, it’s ALL about her character Dee Dee, the Broadway diva. What a stellar performance! If Oscar voters cared anything about movie musicals, they would vote for Streep again this year. (She’s won several before, but all for her work in dramatic flicks.)
Some of the pleasant surprises here include Keegan-Michael Key’s charming portrayal of a high school principal who loves Broadway shows and Kerry Washington’s severe interpretation of a PTA president dead set against “inclusive proms.” Andrew Rannells also deserves praise as one of the Broadway team who helps keep the gang together. His rousing rendition of “Love Thy Neighbor” is a highlight here.
Directed by Ryan Murphy, this movie adaptation of the original Broadway play (inspired by a true story) does more than entertain. It increases our understanding of how difficult it is for gay teens to let their families and friends know who they really are. Suffering practically jumps off the screen in a touching reconciliation scene between Corden’s character and his mom.
Finally, this production needed the right girls to play the courageous teenagers at the center of the story. Jo Ellen Pellman and Ariana DeBose were the right choices. Here’s hoping they get to show off their talent in many more movie roles.
(Released by Neflix and rated “PG-13” by MPAA.)
FULL DISCLOSURE: I confess to being an avid movie musical fan.