Broadway has waved goodbye to The Prom but will the West End wave hello? #WestEndWishlist
| By Jade Ali
After 333 performances (previews and regular) at the Longacre Theatre, the Broadway production of this new musical comedy recently closed its doors. The critically acclaimed show earned itself several Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, as well as winning the hearts of its audiences night after night. Of course, us Londoners been green with envy since, wanting a slice of the action for ourselves.
The West End is always welcoming Broadway transfers, shows like Come From Away and Waitress are thriving over on this side of the pond too, and shows like Dear Evan Hansen are being booked up before even opening. However, we still have our eye on various Broadway hits, desperate for that transfer announcement! Hopefully, The Prom is one of those shows that comes our way fairly soon.
The West End is the perfect venue for The Prom
The Prom has had the heart of Broadway bursting at the seams! The joyous new musical comedy has been delighting musical theatre fans spanning across generations. The musical opened on Broadway in 2018 following its premiere in 2016 at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. Its Broadway reception spans further than your average run-of-the-mill reviews with the show having caused a media frenzy for its performance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2018, which featured the first televised LGBTQ+ kiss. Just recently it made history again when Broadway’s first on-stage wedding occurred after the show’s curtain call. The same-sex couple had each worked on the show or with the show’s creative team.
The West End is home to new musicals like Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, which features a gay 16-year-old boy who fights discrimination and bullying in school by stepping into the spotlight, some six-inch stilettos and a dress he plans to wear to prom. The Prom would compliment this show perfectly by introducing us to another high school student who is petitioning to bring her girlfriend as her plus one. How beyond fabulous would Shaftesbury Avenue look if The Prom were to open up at the West End’s Gielgud Theatre with Everybody’s Talking About Jamie right next door at the Apollo Theatre?
A show that has been raved about by critics and that is constantly described as ‘big-hearted’ and ‘full of happiness’ is, of course, a show that we’d welcome with open arms in the West End. The LGBTQ+ representation really gives young theatre fans the reassurance that not everyone had growing up, which makes shows like The Prom important. Following the closing of the Broadway production, the musical making a West End transfer is desired even more, but for now, we can only hope.
What is The Prom about?
On one side of the story is a bunch of Broadway has-beens that are desperately clinging to their relevancy. After reading about a teenage girl who has been denied the request to take her girlfriend to prom, the divas-turned-activists travel to the fictitious town of Edgewater, Atlanta to aid her campaign. Their intentions appear honourable but their attempts to soak up the good press is evident, except to Emma perhaps, who is confused at the attention she is receiving. Emma, her principal, and the Broadway actors fight to get prom back on and for it be inclusive, and in doing so the actors question their misguided motives.
The Prom has two scores in one!
This musical not only has a story that appeals to theatre fans of all ages but a score that pleases fans of contemporary and classic scores alike. Composers Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar have provided both old-school Broadway numbers and exuberant pop songs. The reason behind this contrasting score, however, wasn’t to please a wide range of musical fans but to give honest voices to the different characters, like Dee Dee, the classic Broadway diva, and Emma, a young, hopeful girl. The songs really convey who the characters are and whilst their styles are starkly different at times, they all have the same effect, which is to express emotion.
The Prom: Where next?
The Prom may have closed the doors on their Broadway production and even without a West End transfer announcement, the musical still parties on. In 2021, the show will hit the road for a National US tour, and we’re not jealous at all! The hit new musical, however, will be adapted into a film for the streaming service Netflix (please at least have it available on the UK site!!) by Ryan Murphy and the show's creators, including Tony Award-winning director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw. That’s not all though. The Prom will also be adapted into a Young Adult novel by the musical’s writers Chad Beguelin, Bob Martin and Matthew Sklar, along with novelist Saundra Mitchell. Surely, a West End transfer announcement is coming soon?!
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Read our previous #WestEndWishlist blog on Friendsical here.