Kim Tsuyuki
Staff Writer

Get your jazz hands ready since the movie industry is pulling out all the stops as countless Broadway musicals are being adapted into upcoming movies. Four movie musical adaptations will be released by December 2021: The Prom, Everybody’s Talking About Jaime, In the Heights, and West Side Story — not to mention the countless other adaptations that are in the works. The movie that will be released first out of the mentioned bunch is The Prom. The Prom’s teaser trailer dropped on Oct. 22 and featured the star-studded cast . . . just a little too much. 

Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, The Politician) is the director of The Prom. The cast features Jo Ellen Pellman (Emma Nolan), Ariana DeBose (Alyssa), Meryl Streep (Dee Dee Allen), James Corden (Barry Glickman), Keegan-Michael Key (the principal), Kerry Washington (head of the PTA), Nicole Kidman (Angie), and Andrew Rannells (Trent). I’ve run out of breath from just reading off that list — and, yes, all of those people are in the trailer. Don’t get me wrong, I love the stars in the cast; however, the trailer was dominated by them. In total, Emma and Alyssa appear for twenty-three seconds. The two main characters have so little screen time in a two-minute and nineteen-second trailer.

A consequence of not showcasing the main characters is that the audience misses the fact Emma and Alyssa are dating and that The Prom showcases two lesbian characters. There’s one frame in the trailer where Emma and Alyssa are holding hands, but it’s not enough to establish their relationship. The Broadway musical was the first musical to have an LGBTQIA+ couple kiss at the Macy’s Day Parade. The Prom musical was also so crucial in terms of LGBTQIA+ representation — more specifically, lesbian representation. In an interview with Vanity Fair, the two actresses who played Emma and Alyssa on Broadway talked about the significance of The Prom. Isabelle McCalla, who played Alyssa, said, “At the stage door, there are so many teenage girls who talk to us about how this is the first time they see themselves on stage represented in this struggle…” This representation just gets lost in the trailer, which is disappointing because there aren’t very many notable lesbian films and TV shows. If that’s your story, then you should mention that.

Meryl Streep and James Corden stand on a table in glittery outfits
The trailer erases the main characters in favor of featuring the rest of the star studded cast.
Photo Courtesy of Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix

The trailer seems to be targeting theater kids who already know what the plot is because it was originally a Broadway musical. However, it makes no effort to appeal to an audience, as it does not provide any insight into what The Prom is about. They compensate for this by showing off their stars. By doing that, the story becomes confusing and seems to be more about the adult cast. Many Twitter users noted this. One user tweeted: “Incredible how The Prom is about two lesbians that can’t go to prom together and the trailer completely managed to avoid that in favor of 2947 shots of James Corden.” 

A more extended trailer is scheduled to be released next month. I just hope it does justice to highlighting Emma and Alyssa’s relationship and clarifies the plot more. I get that it’s just a teaser trailer, but when it focuses on showing off the (mostly White) star-studded cast over the two lesbian characters (not to mention one of them is a woman of color), it just feels more like a cash grab. It’s 2020; crazier things have happened than Ryan Murphy proving me wrong.

Featured Photo: Courtesy of Deadline

Author

  • Kim Tsuyuki is a third-year English major with a minor in Film Studies. This is her first year working for the QC and is currently writing for the Arts & Entertainment section. When she isn’t working, she can be found playing video games, collecting stickers, and watching the same three movies (over and over, like chill out Kim). She’s kinda sad, but mostly hungry.

Kim Tsuyuki is a third-year English major with a minor in Film Studies. This is her first year working for the QC and is currently writing for the Arts & Entertainment section. When she isn’t working, she can be found playing video games, collecting stickers, and watching the same three movies (over and over, like chill out Kim). She’s kinda sad, but mostly hungry.

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