Netflix’s “The Prom” Review: Broadway’s Favorite Teen Lesbians Warmed Our Unruly Hearts

One January evening, almost two years ago, I got dressed up and went to see The Prom on Broadway with a full theatre row of my queer found family. As Emma opened her laptop and found her people, I got to look to my left and see the people I found that very same way. I wasn’t sure if the Netflix’s The Prom would hold a candle to that experience, so I was so happy when the credits started to roll and I realized I had a GREAT TIME. Is it cheesy and campy? Yes. Are all of their problems glossed over with a perfect sheen and solved with a glittery dance number? Yes. Did I love every single note? ALSO YES.

I thought for sure I was going to be alone in my love for this movie, so imagine my EXTREME DELIGHT when the Autostraddle Slack lit up with Drew and Carmen also singing its praises. That’s when I knew I had to invite these two to be my Prom dates and do a little roundtable so we could shout about our feelings together.

Alright, friends, it’s time to dance.

Extreme spoilers for Netflix’s The Prom ahead. Only walk on stage if you’re ready for the curtain to go up.


teen lesbians at prom

Valerie Anne: How much did you know about The Prom going into watching this movie? What were your expectations, and did the movie meet them?

Drew: All I knew about The Prom was the basic logline. It opened on Broadway right before I left New York, so I didn’t get a chance to see it and honestly I’d heard from some people that it was very, um, what’s the word… made for straight people? But the thing is I love musicals and — God help my soul — I love Ryan Murphy so I found myself getting more and more excited about this movie as its release approached. That said, my expectations were still VERY measured. But then — wow yeah they were completely and wildly surpassed.

Carmen: I also missed The Prom on Broadway, and to be honest I hadn’t paid it much attention because campier musicals aren’t usually my preference. In fact, I think the first time I seriously paid attention to Prom-mania was when they had that famous same-sex kiss at the 2018 Thanksgiving Day Parade and all those conservative “family values” groups protested.

Of course once I found out what all the commotion was about, I fell in love immediately. That said, if Drew considers herself a Ryan Murphy faithful, I’m definitely Ryan agonistic. I was holding my breath, believing in the power of Meryl, and diving into this movie against my better instincts.

Valerie Anne: Gods, if I run with this metaphor, I think I’m a born again Ryan Murphy fan. I loved him then I hated him but I’m really coming around again, and this movie had a big hand in that. As I mentioned, I saw the show on Broadway loved it, but I wasn’t sure I could trust a movie adaptation with so many big non-Broadway names so I was cautiously optimistic. I know I’m a sucker for movie musicals but it still exceeded my expectations.


prom alyssa greene and kerry washington greene

Valerie Anne: What characters or scenes resonated with you the most?

Drew: I hated high school. I was closeted to the point of being closeted to myself, but I look back and view my high school experience as very much that of a queer teen. I mean, I got into college with a social justice scholarship for queer activism and was bullied for being gay all my life and TRULY THE MIND BOGGLES THAT I DIDN’T PUT THE PIECES TOGETHER FOR MYSELF.

Carmen: Oh my God Drew, huge same for me! I spent all of high school very convinced I was straight, and that my boyfriend who painted his nails in black sparkles and took me on date nights to Rocky Horror Picture Show and the touring production of RENT — not once, but twice — was also straight. (Spoiler alert: Neither of us was straight.)

Valerie Anne: I was also trying very hard to be straight in high school but also got into fights with my religion teachers about how Jesus would have loved gay people and they were being hypocrites. So, same.

Drew: We were all so, so gay. Anyway, I deeply loved Emma and felt so strongly her desire to get the fuck out of Indiana and her general disconnect from her school population. And at the same time I really understood Alyssa and her desire to put forward this perfect front. It was so easy to project so much onto these characters and root for them from beginning to end. When Emma breaks up with Alyssa I felt so sad for Alyssa and also so proud of Emma and it was just so many FEELINGS because in my own skewed trans way I identify with both of them at different points in my life — and sometimes at the same time at the same point.

Carmen: Oh for me it was no contest that I was Alyssa Greene. Constantly burying my queerness, constantly in a quest for perfection. Perfect grades, perfect hair, always hiding beneath a mask. Never letting anyone know how much I was hurting as long as I kept smiling. Her autobiographical number “Alyssa Greene” completely took me out. And then when you get to the relationship with her mother? And how terrified Alyssa is of disappointing her?

There were not enough buckets in the world for all my tears.

Valerie Anne: Yeah I’m with Drew, I was definitely a mix of both Emma and Alyssa. The little miss perfect to try to please my mother while also the internal desperate need to get the hell out of my hometown, and even the looking to the internet for community even before I knew exactly what community I was looking for.


Valerie Anne: This cast is jam-packed with legends, literal Broadway stars, and adorable newbies. What were your favorite or least favorite casting choices?

Carmen: Hands down it’s Jo Ellen Pellman as Emma. I don’t remember I saw a newcomer who just — I mean, you are on stage with Meryl Streep and you are eating her up for breakfast? In your first major role? Who does that! It’s unbelievable how wonderful she is — awkward and shy and charismatic, but also fully sure of herself, and that voice?? Sheesh.

I’ll say it like this, I didn’t love Netflix’s The Prom’s opening number — which gives you Nicole Kidman, and Meryl Streep, and James Corden, and Andrew Rannels — in fact, I was more than half-ready to take it off. But then Jo Ellen Pellman debuts with “Just Breathe” and my entire world stopped.

(Don’t get me wrong, Meryl was great, too! In a chewing scenery kind of way. But to be fair this will still rank as only my third favorite Meryl Streep musical role — behind both Mama Mia and Into the Woods.)

Drew: Wow hot pro-Meryl in Into the Woods take! I’m going to start with the negative. I think we were all concerned about James Corden from the beginning… and I have to admit he surprised me. It’s the most I’ve liked him since I saw him on stage in One Man, Two Governors. But I still think that character could’ve been a real stand out and point of connection for me in another actor’s hands and he was not. Better than I expected, but still not as good as he could be.

Carmen: Agreed!

Valerie Anne: Seconded, my bar was low but he grand jeté’d over it.

Drew: I pretty much loved everyone else though! It helps that I am a total Nicole Kidman stan, always am happy to see Andrew Rannels, and love Kerry Washington enough to get on board with her very quick moral turnaround. I also think one of the wildest things about this movie is the casting of Meryl Streep and Keegan-Michael Key as love interests. Dare I say that is the queerest thing about the movie?? I kid, I kid. But truly… what?? Just a wild choice.

Carmen: I loved their odd-pairing a lot!! I didn’t expect Keegan-Michael Key to pull off the kind of humble sweetness that could take a Patti LuPone-style Diva of Meryl Streep’s making and bring her back down to earth in a very rooted way, but damn — it worked.

Valerie Anne: I’ll admit that dynamic didn’t work for me in the stage version, the principal and the Broadway legend, but Keegan-Michael Key and Meryl Streep sold me on it.

Drew: There’s also one thing that DELIGHTED ME. I want to celebrate Jo Ellen Pellman and Ariana DeBose not just for being great — but for being QUEER. I guess it’s fine when straight actors play queer characters, but God feel the difference? It’s really such a difference!

Valerie Anne: YES. Yes yes yes. Also I fell in love with Ariana DeBose when I saw her in Bring it On the Musical on Broadway many moons ago (a highly underrated musical; one of the most amazing feats of athleticism and skill I’ve ever seen on stage, plus also it’s got some BOPS) and am always excited to see her name in various credits so I was thrilled she got her time to shine here. And shine she did. And I agree about Jo Ellen Pellman; she said in the press interview that Ryan gave her the note to play Emma with an underlying thread of hope and optimism, you can tell she really took that to heart.


Valerie Anne: Do you have any real life prom experiences you want to share? Was same-sex prom dates a thing in your high school or would that have been taboo? Did a team of clueless Broadway actors come help you throw an inclusive prom for you and your girlfriend?

Carmen: I skipped prom entirely and spent the night at home. I would’ve killed for a team of clueless Broadway actors to come help throw me a party — imagine Audra McDonald serenading me from a taffeta covered stage? That’s the dream.

Valerie Anne: I went to Catholic school so same-sex dates weren’t allowed and frankly neither would a girl earring a tux be permitted. I took a friend to my senior prom, and the dance itself was FINE… my ex-best friend was at our table because we had to pick our seating arrangement in like September but a lot can change in a school year, and one of the “popular” girls told me she didn’t recognize me because I “actually look really pretty” so that was confusing. But mostly what I remember is hanging out at my friend Katie’s house in full hair and makeup but our PJs, watching Ghost Ship to scare ourselves and then Shrek in Spanish so we could get some sleep.

Drew: I have major prom trauma. Prauma? Is that a word? It should be.

Anyway, my high school did Junior/Senior Prom and, since all my friends were older, junior year was when I would’ve gone. I’d spent the couple months leading up to promposals starting a thing with someone and then it was cut short because her friend had a crush on me and she said she couldn’t betray her friend and it was so annoying because I didn’t like her friend and the friend needed to just get over herself but whatever. I was producing a production of All My Sons and I started becoming closer with our choreographer (yes, our production of All My Sons had dance numbers) and found myself getting over the first girl and getting a crush on this choreographer. She was sort of halfway between theatre kid and popular girl, but she didn’t have a date and high school cliques are stupid so I thought what the hell I should ask her.

She loved fairy tales so I wrote her a personalized two page fairy tale and at the bottom it said “P.S. do you want to go with me to the closest thing our school has to a royal ball? If yes, come outside the band room.” And I was standing outside the band room with flowers. And she said yes!! She was so excited. She was like overwhelmed by the fairy tale and rushed us into the choir room next door where the cast was rehearsing and was like WE’RE GOING TO PROM TOGETHER. I did not experience a lot of wins in high school and it was just a really cute and nice moment.

But. Then. Her popular girl friends told her that if she went to prom with me she couldn’t come in their limo because I wasn’t cool enough. So instead they set her up with some asshole and she called me and canceled. The problem was she’d announced we were going together to all of my social circle so I couldn’t ask anyone else because I didn’t want anyone to feel like a second choice. So I did not go to prom and a month later that girl started dating some new guy (not the prom date) and now they’re married! So I guess it’s for the best that we didn’t go together because what if we had the best time and started dating and then she never got to date the guy she eventually married?? Really sucked for me though. *Siri, play “Barry is Going to Prom”*

Valerie Anne: If she can be so cruel to someone who wrote her a personalized fairy tale I have to assume she also has bodies in her basement. That’s COLD.


Valerie Anne: What was your favorite song/number?

Drew: Oh baby okay. So I think the Broadway star songs are fun and while watching the movie they really delighted me. But as I have been listening to the soundtrack on repeat I’ve been listening to my own very teen heavy edit of the soundtrack with “Just Breathe” and “Alyssa Greene” specifically on repeat.

I think one thing Netflix’s The Prom does very well is give us two teen lesbians who feel grounded in themselves and their romance.

Carmen: Yes! Without a doubt, yes. Teen lesbians are everything about what makes The Prom work, despite any of the rest of its flaws.

Drew: I love an “I want” song about being stuck somewhere you don’t want to be and I love any song about feeling pressure to live up to expectations. (“Breathe” from In the Heights is maybe my favorite musical theatre song ever?)

Carmen: Drew, we might be the same person, “Breathe” from In the Heights is easily one of my favorite musical theatre song ever. The pressures of living up to the dreams of your family? Hell, living up to the dreams of your own? Instant tears, every time.

Valerie Anne: BREATHE FROM IN THE HEIGHTS IS ALSO ONE OF MY FAVORITE MUSICAL THEATRE SONGS EVER. And agree re: “Just Breathe” and “Alyssa Greene.” Basically this whole roundtable is just me agreeing with you both excitedly.

Drew: I also love how “Unruly Heart” isn’t just about being queer but is about being a queer person who is incapable of hiding. Obviously some queer people have to stay closeted (especially teenagers) and I think the movie does a great job with Alyssa showing that experience — but I also think there’s something to celebrating queer people who have something in them that makes them loud.

And, okay, besides Emma and Alyssa, I also really loved “We Look to You.” Theatre means a lot to me and I think this song is such a lovely tribute to what theatre means to so many of us. Is it possible to write about any of this without sounding so corny? Guess not! And I don’t care!

Carmen: For me it’s a straight slate of the teen numbers, no chaser. If Emma or Alyssa sing it, I’m all over it. “Unruly Heart” — which is the double tear dropper of Emma singing to other queer and trans teens! About how hard it is to be a queer teen! Then also, “Just Breathe” and “Alyssa Greene,” both of which I’ve already mentioned but cannot stop playing on repeat.

Valerie Anne: “Unruly Heart” is my favorite song in the show because of the reasons you mentioned – I’m 33 and I feel like I’m still learning to give myself space to love what and who I love fully without worrying about what other people think. And then linking it to other queers finding her on the internet? That’s how I found my family, through the internet, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. And also I was sitting with some of them in the theatre when I heard the song for the first time. MY EMOTIONS. And I think the movie brought that to life really well. It captured the sweetness of Emma reaching out, and the pain/relief combo of other lonely queer kids watching her video.

Carmen: I actually think the finale number, “Time to Dance” is actually the best piece in the show? Especially as an ensemble. In a lot of musicals the finale is ironically an afterthought, so I think it’s refreshing to have a show that actually builds to something!

Valerie Anne: I do love a big group sing.


nicole kidman emma lesbian prom

Valerie Anne: Any closing/overall thoughts about the movie?

Drew: I’m pretty sure the community is going to have vastly different feelings about this movie, because it’s not just a queer movie, it’s a musical, and it’s not just a musical, it’s this kind of musical. Some people will be enthralled watching Nicole Kidman do a Fosse-esque dance number where she is grinding on a mostly likely very horny teenage lesbian and some people will think it is absurd and stupid! I am in Camp One.

Sure, the politics of this movie are not complex and it’s a very easy view of queer acceptance and queerness in general, but I also think it’s based in high school and feels adolescent in a way I kind of appreciate. I don’t know! Maybe I’m just a corny Broadway gay. No, I’m definitely a corny Broadway gay. And I loved The Prom.

Carmen: I am very easily a corny Broadway gay, and I wear that flag proudly. I love musicals. I love being gay. If you also love musicals and being gay — I think it’s going to be very hard not to love The Prom.

Did I love all the campiness? Depending on the scene, I could take it or leave it (Nicole Kidman doing bad Fosse did little for me, but Meryl Streep killing her Patti LuPone impression certainly did much more). I could have done with 100% less of the Ryan Murphy focus on cis gay white men who “save the world” — for instance, I found myself wondering if I would have come around on the Andrew Rannels’ character more quickly if he had been played by say, Billy Porter, just off the top of my head. But in the end, none of it mattered. Because it’s not their story, it is not the story of any of the adults.

This is a love story about Emma and Alyssa. Two queer teens in a small midwestern town and if you don’t want those little dweebs to go to sparkle filled prom and kiss at midnight and slay their demons and sing and dance — then I’m sorry, but you may not have a heart. (I don’t make the rules!)

Valerie Anne: Yeah I could have done with more of the teen lesbians and less of the adults (I would at least like the stolen verse of You Happened back.) And this goes for the stage and movie versions but I could have done without the whole Love Thy Neighbor subplot entirely, THAT SAID, I think Jo Ellen Pellman and Ariana DeBose (and Nicole Kidman and Kerry Washington) did so much with what they DID have that when the movie was over, all I was left with was a happy, joy-filled, unruly heart.

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 266 articles for us.

20 Comments

  1. I am so excited to read your Roundtable! I love when my worlds collide like this! I am a drama teacher who loves musicals and an avid follower of Autostraddle.

    I saw The Prom on Broadway, and I loved it! I was concerned because a friend who had seen it commented that it was more about the adults than the teen lesbians, so he wasn’t sure if I’d like it. While I did feel a bit annoyed by the adults trying to save the day, I enjoyed it immensely.

    I look forward to viewing the movie. I am approaching cautiously as I often don’t like film adaptations nearly as much. I was not a fan of the Into the Woods or Mamma Mia movies…and Meryl Streep’s performances in them! I do not love her singing, and I can’t imagine topping Beth Leavel’s incredible work. I agree with a lot of the favorite songs mentioned already, but I have to give a shout out for “It’s Not About Me”, which I adore!

    I loved hearing all of your thoughts on this as it makes me hopeful that I will love it. I AM a Ryan Murphy fan (with the exception of some of the obvious Glee issues).

    I was closeted in high school and college, however I had my home in the drama club. I don’t have Prom trauma as my high school boyfriend was a fellow theatre nerd and is still one of my best friends today. I also relate to both Emma and Alyssa at various points in my life. I definitely have issues with my mom. Her turnaround was not quite as quick as Mrs. Greene!

    Thanks for sharing your stories and thoughts! I can’t wait to watch!

    • Here’s my review after watching:
      (As first posted on my Instagram)
      It is so rare that I like a movie musical as much as the Broadway show. In fact, Chicago might be the only one (since I don’t love the current Broadway version that feels more like a concert with some dancing). So color me surprised to absolutely adore The Prom! I loved the stage show so much that I couldn’t imagine that I would like the Ryan Murphy treatment (though I am mostly a fan of his except those terrible things that Glee became). I was also skeptical of the casting of the adults as I couldn’t imagine how the Broadway foursome who developed their roles together since the table readings could ever be replaced. I am not a fan of Meryl in musicals (Into the Woods and Mamma Mia—just ugh!), however, her version of DeeDee was very different from Beth Leavel, but in a deeper, nuanced way. Her singing worked for this, too. While I enjoy James, I wasn’t sure he was going to pull off Barry. I found I was touched by his work so much more than I reacted to the character on Broadway—again, a different take, but one that really made me tear up seeing how he handled his parent issues. Nicole I also don’t get excited over, but while her “American “ accent continues to baffle, her legs and Fosse moves worked. I also noted that they chose to take her scene with Emma out of the bedroom , which probably makes it less creepy for a typical audience while those at a Broadway showing can handle it for what it is—a dancer using her talents to encourage the teen in the language she has at her disposal (Fosse!) As for Andrew, he’s just fantastic at whatever he does! I crack up every time there is mention of the Godspell kids (as I’ve been in that show 3 times!) I expected Kerry to be wonderful, and she was. I believed her lightning fast turnaround a bit more since she brought more layers to her explanation of being at the inclusive prom for Alyssa. Finally, I can’t say enough about Ariana and Jo Ellen. They are outstanding as Alyssa and Emma. I adore them both so much! Go watch @promnetflix ! It is an utter delight!

      (I later amended that I also love the Little Shop of Horrors movie—and have been in the show three times!)

  2. I watched this with my roommates who are very much not campy Broadway queers whereas I have a biography of Meryl pride of place on my bookshelf, so I was apprehensive. I have plenty of nitpicks and thoughts (not a fan of the keegan/Meryl romance! weird and icky! Also I don’t think Ryan Murphy did the best job translating stage to screen; there was some really good editing and some really bad editing) but overall I’m so happy this exists and that I got to watch it. Traveling back to my high school prom and telling little baby queer me that within a decade there would be a big name movie about lesbians at prom would’ve changed my life

  3. I can’t complain about a campy gay musical; I enjoyed it, and I think it will be even more fun to see on Broadway when that becomes possible again. The “Love Thy Neighbor” subplot was disappointing especially because the musical was so self-aware of the problematic liberal savior stuff otherwise, but then implied we could rid the world of homophobia with a five minute debate about the Bible. It was also a weird experience to find a character played by Kerry Washington unattractive.

    My high school prom was…fine, but like the adult characters, I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to attend a “prom” again as an adult (thrown by adults) and it blew the first one out of the water. It’s way more fun when you aren’t an insecure teenager and you can pass around a handle of vodka with your friends.

  4. I really enjoyed this and I totally cried watching it!! Two nitpicks-

    Did anyone else feel uncomfortable with Nicole Kidman grinding on a high school lesbian? Or any high schooler whatsoever?

    Also, can someone in-the-know on the broadway version tell me if they had the “butchy duck” line be butchy dyke? I hated that that was part of the makeover sequence. Go from butchy dyke to ?? I love butchy dykes.

    • In regards to the Nicole/Emma scene, it is more intense on Broadway because they are in Emma’s bedroom. I feel as though this scene works well for theatre folks as we understand that Angie is just communicating with Emma in the language she has to work with (Fosse dance). If you’re not a theatre person who spends a lot of time around actors and dancers, this body comfort level may seem weird. I get why they moved it to the living room and stairs for a more general audience. Angie isn’t a creeper, she’s being supportive. (Though even Emma says it’s Awkward!)

    • That was an issue for me too! I really enjoyed the film as a whole, but it felt like the sequence with James Corden’s character giving Emma a makeover was very rooted in wanting her to look more feminine. Yes, she eventually goes to her prom in a suit and that felt authentic, but it didn’t really make up for the earlier scenes. It just felt like it was handled poorly in general.

      • I kind of read it as his version of being the liberal savior who doesn’t realize he isn’t helping: he’s gay but going through his own experience of being gay by embracing the joys of femininity without thinking through how she she’s at best a casual femme who wants to experience suavity for this (or future) occasions. Also he seems written to be one of those gay men who only spend time with very femme stright women so that’s his first instinct to relate to her. She’s young and so wowed by positive attention by flashy adults to really pushback on it, with the added nuance of the school dress code didn’t change from what I gathered. She might have wanted to look the part of “a gay kid just like you!” to smooth things over with the other teens and Ms. Greene even if she didn’t necessarily want to be in a dress. I think its telling for their queer-inclusive prom she wears something flashy AND butch and Barry compliments it in the ending song, showing how they both evolved.

        Not sure if the creators (from the original Broadway people to Ryan Murphy) actually thought about it from those angles, but that’s how I made sense of it!

  5. I saw the Broadway show 5x, was obsessed! and was very skeptical coming into the casting of this. But I loved the movie, turns out! It was the same joyous campy ridiculous sparkly fantasy feeling at finale.

    Corden would not have been my first choice, but he was perfectly competent? I saw both Brooks Ashmanskas and his understudy Josh Lamon and their performances just Hit Different (even though they had fewer emotional scenes to work with). Also I don’t know how I feel about bringing Barry’s mom And having Mrs. Greene change her mind in a few hours? I did love meeting Emma’s grandmother.

    There were a few things that a movie could do that a stage play couldn’t that really got me good. Namely: flashing back to Swallow the Moon in the two Hawkins/Deedee songs; having baby Barry and grown Barry twirl about in a fantasy sequence; and having so many super queer teenagers in Unruly Heart and the finale (I kinda wanna write fanfiction about them! all these interesting randos with their gay haircuts and affirming formalwear). Also Jo Ellen Pellman is a treasure and her smile could be a lighthouse in the fog.

    • I thought some of the movie added elements were really nice —I enjoyed those you mentioned.
      I felt that the Unruly Heart listeners were a huge bonus to this film as on Broadway, they are played by the same ensemble kids who are the hurtful classmates. (As that is how you have to do it in a stage show!)

  6. I love this review/round table so much!! I agree with all of you about pretty much everything. I loved the Broadway show so much (although I did also have little nitpicks about the stuff you all mentioned too — could have done without the Love Thy Neighbor and a lot of the white gay men stuff), and was worried Ryan Murphy would Ryan Murphy it all up, but I think his style totally worked here! The combination of camp and genuine emotion was mostly just right. And the teen lesbians at the heart of it were just perfect. I didn’t even know they’re queer in real life, too!!
    Also: Key/Streep? Surprisingly super cute! James Corden? Why (also I just found out he’s straight and now I’m why x100).

  7. Did we watch the same movie? The Prom was…… not good.

    The most appalling part of the movie is James Corden’s offensive portrayal of a gay man. If any role needed to be recast with Billy Porter, it’s that one.

    I did see the Broadway production, which was chock full of incredible spot-on performances, so this movie certainly had a lot to live up to. The casting choices are wrong on many levels. Nicole Kidman as a lifelong chorus girl? Who has a whole Fosse number that is shot exclusively from the waist up?

    The musical itself is so drenched in theater. The archetypes that the four actors represent, the jokes, the niche theater references all worked on stage because it was playing to an audience who are in on the jokes. Casting a bunch of movie stars shows Ryan Murphy’s complete lack of understanding about the world that the show lived in and frankly feels like punching down at theater actors. But if you are going to cast a bunch of movie stars, then actually adapt it into an homage to MOVIE musicals. Instead, Ryan Murphy essentially stole the stage show and removed all the parts of it that made it work.

    Overall, the movie is just boring. I loved the stage production and was very excited to see it turned into a movie, but I am sadly very disappointed. And honestly shocked to read so many glowing reviews of it on here.

  8. I have no idea why I’m typing this, since I only just heard about this musical two nights ago, via Netflix. I thought it was meh, not bad but not great. One of my big problems was that I felt like most of the songs fell flat, and sounded like boilerplate, filler type songs. The huge exception being “You Happened,” which is vibrant and fun and bouncy and catchy (albeit the beginning sounds exactly like the I Want You Back, but hey, can’t blame them for wanting to rip that one).

    Anyways. Having not even known this was a musical before watching the Netflix version, it was immediately, outrageously obvious to me that they’d decided to cut a painfully, obviously necessary third verse and chorus of what was their best song. A verse where the MAIN LOVE INTERESTS CONFESS THEIR LOVE TO EACH OTHER!! What the heck?

    At this point, I realized the people making the movie had probably ruined other parts of the musical too, and oddly enough it really bothered me for the remaining hour or so that I watched it. I guess they just felt pressured to include more of the stars? And here I am, typing to a stranger for no particular reason about it. Alright, glad I got that off my chest.

    Also, as someone who really does like Keegan Michael Key. Yikes. He was painfully miscast as the most boring principal in America, who also isn’t really able to sing.

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