“Oh, look at us bringing theatre to the masses!” Kerry Washington says at the start of our interview for The Prom, streaming on Netflix December 11. Watch her and Tony nominee Ariana DeBose discuss the movie, their mother-daughter bond, and the importance of diversity in the experiences being told in the video above.
Washington recently appeared on Broadway (and subsequently Netflix) in American Son, a very dark play about a family waiting to find out what happened to their child in a police encounter. “I don’t think you could get any more different, tonally,” says Washington of the two works, calling The Prom “a celebration.” And although she plays Mrs. Greene, a conservative PTA president who wants to prevent same-sex couples from attending a school dance, there’s an important connection between American Son and The Prom: the story of Black families struggling and Black parents accepting and loving their kids.
DeBose (Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, Hamilton), who recently wrapped filming West Side Story, plays Alyssa Greene, Washington's character's daughter and—unbeknownst to her, one half of the lesbian couple at the center of the inciting conflict. She says the message of the film offers courage to those watching. “[The movie] reminds people that coming out, at any age, is always challenging...but it’s the most brave act of vulnerability.”
Directed by Ryan Murphy and based on the Tony-nominated musical from Chad Beguelin, Bob Martin, and Matthew Sklar, The Prom stars Meryl Streep as Dee Dee Allen, James Corden as Barry Glickman, Nicole Kidman as Angie Dickinson, Andrew Rannells as Trent Oliver, Keegan-Michael Key as Mr. Hawkins, Kevin Chamberlin as Sheldon Saperstein, Tracey Ullman as Vera, and Mary Kay Place as Grandma Bea. Rounding out the cast are Nico Greetham, Logan Riley, Nathaniel J. Potvin, and Sofia Deler.