Despite positive reviews and many charming jokes and songs, the Broadway musical The Prom didn’t win any Tonys this year and will close in August, but the fact that Ryan Murphy has cast seemingly every famous person you could think of in his Netflix adaptation is some form of consolation. According to Deadline, Murphy has cast Meryl Streep herself in the starring role of Dee Dee Allen, a self-obsessed Broadway star played by Beth Leavel onstage, with the straight James Corden playing her similarly self-obsessed and very gay Broadway star friend Barry Glickman, played by Brooks Ashmanskas onstage. The list continues with Nicole Kidman playing another Broadway actor, Angie Dickinson (Angie Schworer onstage), who gets a Fosse-esque jazz number, and Andrew Rannells playing the self-important buffoon Trent Oliver (Christopher Sieber onstage).
That might seem like enough famous people, but no! The one and only Ariana Grande, last seen on Broadway in 13 the Musical, is also in the cast, playing Alyssa (Isabelle McCalla onstage), a closeted, popular teen girl who’s dating Emma, the teen girl at the center of the show’s plot. Caitlin Kinnunen played Emma in the Broadway production, and was nominated for a Tony, though the Netflix version will conduct a “nationwide search led by casting director Alexa Fogel” to cast the role. Just a few more stars: Awkwafina is playing the publicist Ms. Sheldon (Josh Lamon onstage), and Keegan-Michael Key is playing the school principal, who’s also Dee Dee’s love interest (Michael Potts onstage).
The plot of The Prom follows the set of Broadway actors as they descend on a small town in Indiana to help Emma go to her school’s prom after she’s been banned from taking a girl as her date. There’s a lot of Broadway in-jokes and various genre parodies — many of the characters were originally designed around the Broadway actors who played them — as well as a lot of dancing, courtesy of director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw. Per Deadline, Murphy himself will direct. This is all made possible by his massive deal with Netflix, which has also led him to develop a film version of his stage production of The Boys in the Band, though that will star its original Broadway cast. Murphy’s other upcoming Netflix productions include the Ben Platt–starring The Politician, the Sarah Paulson–led Ratched, and the mysterious love letter to Tinseltown called Hollywood. Whatever that is, expect it to have a cast of very, very famous people.
Update Wednesday, June 26: Billboard has reported that conflicts with Ariana Grande’s touring schedule prevented her from being involved in the movie. A source close to Grande told Vulture that it’s too early to confirm her involvement and said the initial announcement jumped the gun.