In case you haven't heard, the Broadway musical comedy The Prom is coming to Netflix! Helmed by Glee and American Horror Story maestro Ryan Murphy, the Netflix adaptation of the Tony-nominated musical will star Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, James Corden, and more stars of stage and screen. The Prom is one of the rare modern musicals that isn't based on an existing property, so you might not have heard much about it before. Telling the story of a lesbian teenage girl who just wants to go to prom with her girlfriend, the heartfelt musical is full of catchy music and humor.
Warning: Some spoilers for The Prom ahead!
Ironically, The Prom doesn't start off with its teenage characters, but with a group of middle-aged Broadway stars. Friends and co-stars Dee Dee and Barry watch in horror as the Eleanor Roosevelt musical they're starring in (yes, really) gets panned so badly it closes that very night, in large part due to their own self-absorption. Out of work and desperate to improve their reputations, they team up with two other down-on-their-luck actors: Trent, who's barely landing low-tier gigs, and Angie, a longtime dancer who's never made it out of the ensemble. They decide to find a "cause" to champion and find one on Twitter: a small-town prom in Indiana that got canceled when a girl wanted to bring her girlfriend.
The actors arrive in Indiana, where the teenager, Emma, faces down bullies while working with her principal to try to bring a lawsuit over the prom. When the actors show up, protest signs in tow, Emma is embarrassed, not grateful, which confuses them. Emma argues with her girlfriend, Alyssa, who hasn't come out publicly and whose mother is the head of the PTA that's opposing the prom. Alyssa is upset about all the publicity that Emma is causing, but Emma reassures her that all she wants is to be able to go to the prom together. The actors try to hold a rally in Emma's support, but it flops miserably.
The state's attorney rules that the school must hold a prom and Emma must be allowed to attend. Emma asks Alyssa to prom, and she accepts, deciding this will be her time to come out. Barry helps Emma get ready for prom, telling her how he didn't get to go to his prom, and escorts her to the dance. When they get there, they find a surprised and angry Principal Hawkins and an empty space — they've just discovered that the PTA has organized another prom across town for everyone else; this one is just a legality for Emma alone. Dee Dee panics over the possible bad publicity for her (which upsets Mr. Hawkins, who believed her intentions to be unselfish), and Emma runs out, humiliated and hurt.
Word about the fake prom gets out, and the actors encourage Emma to stand up as the public face of the controversy, but she's too afraid. Dee Dee tries to apologize to Mr. Hawkins, and she promises to try to do better. Trent, meanwhile, tries tapping into his Christian-small-town upbringing to remind the prejudiced people at the school about "love thy neighbor." Alyssa apologizes to Emma and tries to explain her complicated family life, but Emma is tired of all of it and breaks up with her. As she reels from this breakup, Emma is asked by the actors to go on a TV show appearance they've booked for her, but this time, she decides she's going to take her story into her own hands and do things her own way. A happy ending isn't too far off, but there are a few more hurdles and heartfelt confessions along the way!