The Prom, the gutsy little show that won Broadway’s heart, gave the nation something to talk about over Thanksgiving turkey and is heading for the road and Netflix, will play its last Broadway performance on Sunday, Aug. 11.
Producers Bill Damaschke, Dori Berinstein and Jack Lane announced the production’s closing date today. The closing is the most recent of several in the wake of the Tony Awards – or, rather, in the wake of a lack of Tony Awards. Gary: A Sequel To Titus Andronicus and Hillary And Clinton recently posted their closing notices after failing to land a trophy and the audiences that go with it.
When it closes at the Longacre Theatre, The Prom will have played 23 preview and 310 regular performances. The $13.5 million musical will not recoup its money.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to bring this original musical comedy, full of heart and humor, to Broadway with this dream cast and creative team,” said producers Damaschke, Berinstein and Lane. “Since the earliest days in the journey of The Prom, we have known this story was something special. We are beyond thrilled that our story will continue beyond Broadway with not only a national tour, but a film, a novel and in schools and theatres all over the world.”
The musical about two high school girls who want to attend prom together as a couple – and the brassy Broadway vets who take it upon themselves to help the girls live their dream by taking on small-town bigots and causing no small amount of chaos along the way – has become a sentimental favorite among New York’s theater crowd, loaded as it is with backstage jokes and Broadway diva attitude.
Still, the original musical, without a movie-tie-in or big brand name to rival the Tootsies and Pretty Womans of Broadway, couldn’t quite stand up to the competition. Good reviews went only so far, and even after an appealing song & dance number performed on Tony night, box office at the 1,045-seat Longacre didn’t rise much higher than about 60% of potential. The show grossed $638,365 of a potential $1,040,870 for the week ending June 16, the most recent figures available (courtesy of the Broadway League).
Still, the musical is destined for a Broadway afterlife: Producer Ryan Murphy was so enamored with it that he recently announced he’d develop a movie version for Netflix as part of his deal there. (He’s also planning a Netflix version of Broadway’s The Boys in the Band 50th anniversary revival production).
Earlier this week, producers announced that The Prom would launch a national tour in February 2021 in Providence, Rhode Island. Other dates and cities will be announced shortly. And the cast will perform on June 29 as part of Youth Pride at Summerstage in Central Park; and on June 30 at the closing ceremony of WorldPride celebration in Times Square.
Also announced recently was a book deal – author Saundra Mitchell, author of over twenty books for tweens and teens, has written the YA novelization, which will be published on September 10 by Viking Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. A worldwide licensing deal for The Prom with Theatrical Rights Worldwide was recently announced as well.
The Prom opened November 15, 2018 at the Longacre, with direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw (Mean Girls, The Book of Mormon), a book by Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone) and Chad Beguelin (Aladdin), music by Matthew Sklar (Elf) and lyrics by Chad Beguelin.
The show was Tony-nominated for Best Musical, Best Direction, Best Book and Best Score. Three cast members were nominated: Brooks Ashmanskas, Caitlin Kinnunen and Beth Leavel.
Though the musical actually made its world premiere at The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta back in 2016, it broke through to a national audience last Thanksgiving, when TV cameras filming a performance for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade caught the big, live smooch between the two young lovers that caps a showstopping musical number.
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