2018 Broadway's New Musical Comedy with Issues
THE PROM the Musical - PLOT SYNOPSIS
The musical opens with the PTA of a school board in Indiana announcing that they are cancelling prom due to a student, named Emma, wanting to bring her same sex partner to the prom and the fear of legal action if they only ban her. Meanwhile on Broadway, Eleanor!: The Eleanor Roosevelt Story celebrates its opening night with its lead cast members Dee Dee Allen and Barry Glickman ("Changing Lives"). The musical is bashed by The New York Times because Dee Dee and Barry do not understand their characters since they are too self involved. To improve their image, the actors decide to take up "a cause" to appear selfless. They team up with two other actor friends, Trent Oliver, who is an actor and Juilliard graduate down on his luck but who has just been cast in the non-equity tour of Godspell and Angie Dickinson, a life long chorus girl who just quit her job of 20 years in the musical Chicago after the producers never let her go on for the role of Roxie Hart. After searching on Twitter they find Emma’s story and they decide to go to Indiana to help ("Changing Lives (Reprise)").
Back in Indiana, Emma faces severe bullying, but she reminds herself to breathe and that not everyone is this cruel ("Just Breathe"). Mr. Hawkins, the school principal and Emma's ally, informs her that he has spoken to the States Attorney and that he believes they have a good shot. The school holds a meeting with the PTA to discuss having the prom. As they begin to make progress, Dee Dee, Barry, Angie, and Trent barge in with protest signs to support Emma. Dee Dee reminds everyone what a good person she is for doing this while claiming that this isn't about her humiliating Emma ("It's Not About Me"). After the meeting, it is revealed that the girl Emma wants to take to prom is Alyssa, a popular but closeted student and the daughter of the head of the PTA. The two argue as Alyssa blames Emma for all the publicity around the prom but Emma reassures her that she didn't want this either and that she just wants to be with her ("Dance with You"). The actors attempt to hold a rally to inspire action for Emma but can only book the halftime show at a monster truck rally. They perform alongside the non-equity cast of Godspell that Trent is on tour with ("The Acceptance Song").
Following this, the state's attorney rules that the school must hold a prom. Emma thanks the actors and Mr. Hawkins and Dee Dee go to Applebee's to celebrate. With the prom back on, students begin to "prompose" to each other. Emma officially asks Alyssa to this new prom and she agrees promising to come out to be with her ("You Happened"). At Applebee's, Mr. Hawkins, a huge fan of Dee Dee's, tells her how much she inspires him ("We Look to You"). Barry helps Emma get ready for prom and reveals he didn't have the opportunity to go to prom either. Meanwhile across the town other teens prepare for the prom as well ("Tonight Belongs to You"). As Emma waits outside the gym, she asks Barry to walk her in because she is nervous. As they enter, they realize that the gym is empty. Mr. Hawkins enters and reveals that the PTA put on another prom across town and this one just for Emma as required by law. Dee Dee panics that this fake prom will be bad press for her. Emma calls Alyssa who tells her she knew nothing about the other prom. Emma asks her to come and be with her but she refuses to come out. Devastated, Emma runs out of the gymnasium, asking all the actors to just go home ("Tonight Belongs to You (Reprise)").
Following the fake prom, the media frenzy around the whole event increases. The actors encourage Emma to step up and become the face of the story, but she is too scared. Angie encourages her by teaching her about zazz ("Zazz"). Dee Dee returns to talk to Mr. Hawkins, who berates her for being so self centered. She performs his favorite song by her to make it up to him and vows to begin thinking of others ("The Lady's Improving"). Trent decides that he may be able to change the minds of the youth of the town due to his small-town upbringing. He confronts a number of the students about how they and their families break the word of the Bible every day and how hypocritical they are being. He encourages them to follow "love thy neighbor" above all ("Love Thy Neighbor").
Alyssa meets with Emma to apologize, telling her about all the pressure her mother puts on her to be perfect and that she blames her for her father leaving. Emma is unable to accept her apology and they break up ("Alyssa Greene"). The actors book Emma a TV appearance, but she refuses, telling them that she has her own plan to control the narrative and change minds. Convinced her plan will work and that they will be able to have a prom for everyone, Emma asks Barry to be her date so that he is finally able to fulfill his dream. Barry, overjoyed, agrees as he recounts his own experience missing prom the first time ("Barry Is Going to Prom"). Emma uploads a video of her singing with her guitar about her struggles and longing for acceptance but how despite that she is proud of who she is and won't hide anymore. She inspires other members of the LGBTQ+ community in the area and across the country to comment on their support for her and how it has helped them ("Unruly Heart"). The video goes viral, forcing the school to reconsider. The actors want Emma to finally have a prom but the school doesn't have the money for it.
The actors all donate, including Dee Dee, who donates $10,000. The PTA is furious over the possibility of a new prom but the students voice their support for an inclusive prom, having their minds changed by Trent. The school, seeing how good Trent is with the kids, offers him a position as a drama teacher. Alyssa comes out to her mother in front of the school, causing her mother and the PTA at large to back down. Mrs. Greene is devastated but begins to become more open and agrees to listen to her daughter. The school puts on another more inclusive prom and LGBT couples from the area attend along with the straight couples of James Madison High School. Emma and Alyssa finally get their dance and share a kiss ("It's Time to Dance").
Other Album Songs: The Prom Musical Lyrics
Synopsis to The Prom the Musical Plot