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The cast of Netflix's new movie The Prom talk about why they love musicals

By Rory Cashin

December 4, 2020 at 1:59pm

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Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and more talk to Lovin about the new Netflix musical.

Most of the cast of The Prom are no strangers to musicals.

Meryl Streep has featured in Mamma Mia and Into The Woods, Nicole Kidman had a major career resurgence after Moulin Rouge, James Corden was in Cats and Trolls, Keegan-Michael Key recently appeared in Christmas musical Jingle Jangle, while director Ryan Murphy (when he isn't frightening people with American Horror Story or Ratched) was the man who gave us Glee.

They obviously all have a shared love for the genre, so getting them all together for Netflix's new musical The Prom is a musical lovers' dream.

The story involves two very different groups of people: first up, we've gotta Emma (Jo Ellen Pellman), who wants to bring her not-out-yet girlfriend Alyssa (Ariana DeBose) to the senior prom, but the head of the PTA, who also happens to the Alyssa's mother (Kerry Washington) won't allow it, so the school's principal (Keegan-Michael Key) decides to help Emma fight back.

Meanwhile, a pair of well-known-but-unliked Broadway performers (Meryl Streep and James Corden) have just found out that their brand new musical is going to close on opening night after terrible reviews, so they team up with an ageing chorus girl (Nicole Kidman) and a sit-com wash-up (Andrew Rannells) to head to Indiana to get some good press by helping Emma's cause.

In the run-up to the release of The Prom, we were lucky enough to attend a press conference with the entire cast, as well as director Ryan Murphy, who told us about the little dancing school he created for his actors:

"We took over a very large space at Paramount Pictures, and we did it! We rehearsed, and trained as much as we could. And that was one of the great things, because usually there's not a lot of rehearsals when you're doing film or television, but for this we had built it into the schedule. And I think when you're making a musical, it is where the cast bonds. It was kind of like a Broadway troupe, it was interesting. Everybody cheered each other on, and there were injuries and ice, and it became a very great bonding session, and everybody was free to try things. It was cool."

Next up, Nicole Kidman told us how even though she had been in musicals before, and practised a lot for this one, she was still in awe of her co-star's performance:

"I had this amazing group of dancers, that just trained me and trained like the patience of saints. And actually it was really fun as well, I remember seeing Meryl doing her first number, in the first week, and just going 'Oh my God, this is so, so good'. And she knows! I just looked at her and went 'What?! You can do this too?!'"

And finally, the iconic Meryl Streep herself talked to us about her love of musicals, and why she keeps returning to the genre:

"I think, more than anything, I love the dancing. And because I'm not a dancer, in my actual life, and I love the feeling I get from seeing people really dance. There are numbers in this movie, where the young people get up, and when we were in the rehearsals, we'd be struggling with these numbers, and these young people would get up and they would just lift the roof with their exuberance and joy and vitality and the love of being alive. It is the breakout aspect of musicals, the lid comes off the pressure of your life, whatever your particular sadness is. It is irresistible in movie musicals when people start to dance. And the singing is great too, but [the dancing] is what I love about musicals."

The Prom will be available to watch on Netflix from Friday, December 11, and also in select cinemas from Friday, December 4.

These interviews were edited slightly for clarity.

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