Don't Bother Attending Netflix's 'The Prom'

Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and James Corden can't save Ryan Murphy's adaptation of the Broadway musical.


Meryl Streep loves to sing. I’ve always thought of her as that one Kristen Wiig character on Saturday Night Live who keeps protesting, “don’t make me sing,” but actually really wants to sing. So, yes, Meryl Streep is back singing, and even rapping, this time on Netflix in Ryan Murphy’s adaptation of the Broadway musical The Prom.

The Prom opened on Broadway-back when Broadway could still exist-in 2018, and starred a host of stage veterans who are known to dedicated fans of musical theater but are not household names. When Murphy came on board to translate the show to the screen, he ditched all the actors for whom the roles were actually written in favor of Movie Stars. 

The show, with a book written by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin and music and lyrics by Matthew Sklar and Beguelin, operates as part-satire, part-tearjerker. Streep plays Dee Dee Allen, a two-time Tony-award winner whose self-obsession is ruining her career. When the story opens, she’s starring in an Eleanor Roosevelt musical alongside her partner-in-narcissism Barry Glickman (James Corden). The show’s reviews are terrible, and closes on opening night. While commiserating at Sardi’s bar, they are joined by Juilliard graduate and waiter Trent Oliver (Andrew Rannells) and perpetual chorus girl Angie Dickinson (Nicole Kidman). Together the four of them devise a plot to revive their sinking careers: They’ll find a cause and go viral with activism. The righteous fight falls into their laps after a quick Google search: An Indiana PTA has canceled its high school’s prom instead of letting a teen (Jo Ellen Pellman) bring her girlfriend as a date.Part of the pleasure of the original show was its scrappy, let’s-put-on-an-extravaganza attitude-amplified by its hard-working leads Beth Leavel, Brooks Ashmanskas, Christopher Sieber, and Angie Schworer-mixed with a hefty bite. Murphy would seem to be the perfect translator, given how Glee married nastiness with earnestness. However, he ditched a lot of The Prom‘s more cynical elements and ended up with a movie that’s in praise of celebrities curing a town of its homophobia. The whole joke of the premise hits differently when there are actually recognizable people involved.
All of the actors Murphy cast have notably sung before. Rannells got his start on Broadway. Kidman, famously, was in Moulin Rouge. Streep, of course, has been in numerous movie musicals, including Mamma Mia and Into the Woods, the latter of which also features Corden. They mostly fare well on the vocals. Streep belts bigger than she ever has before on Dee Dee’s showcases “It’s Not About Me” and “The Lady’s Improving.” (She also gets a bonus track, played over the closing credits, “Wear Your Crown,” that involves rapping.) Kidman’s number, “Zazz,” is based around dance and Murphy cuts so much that it’s difficult to tell just how she’s handling the Fosse-esque steps. Corden is the entire enterprise’s biggest sticking point, playing the openly gay Barry, affecting a stereotypical demeanor that rings both false and offensive. 

None of this is to say that The Prom didn’t have me, a sap, crying by the end. But it also proves that, no matter how hard notable celebs try bathed in neon light, sometimes a glitzy film can’t match the thrill of live theater.Need help finding something to watch? Sign up here for our weekly Streamail newsletter to get streaming recommendations delivered straight to your inbox.

Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.


Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.


Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.


BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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