Ariana DeBose to Play Lesbian Teen in Movie Musical “The Prom”

The out actor joins Ryan Murphy's Netflix adaptation, which also stars Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman.

It’s time for Ariana DeBose to dance—again!

The Tony-nominated Summer star has joined the cast of Ryan Murphy’s upcoming adaptation of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical The Prom, Playbill reports.

DeBose, 28, will party with previously announced Prom guests Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells, Awkwafina, Keegan-Michael Key, and Kerry Washington.

Based on an original concept by Jack Viertel and written by Chad Beguelin, Bob Martin, and Matthew Sklar, the ripped-from-the-headlines musical is about Emma, a small-town Indiana girl whose prom is canceled after she’s forbidden to bring her girlfriend as her date. Enter a troupe of self-involved Broadway actors to save the day—whether the girls like it or not.

DeBose will play Emma’s girlfriend, Alyssa Greene, the role once rumored to be played by Ariana Grande. Washington will play Mrs. Greene, Alyssa’s overbearing mother. The role of Emma has not yet been cast.

Ryan Murphy announced in April that he was turning the hit Broadway show, which closed in August, into a movie musical for Netflix.

“I’m really tired of hearing about bad news and Trump,” Murphy told the audience at a special performance benefiting the Hetrick-Martin Institute, GLAAD, and the Trevor Project. “I want to see entertainment that is optimistic and uplifting.”

The “huge Netflix movie event” is being targeted for a September 2020 premiere—right before the presidential election. “We want to change hearts, minds and votes,” the prolific American Horror Story and Pose producer explained.

The Prom is the first movie project announced under Murphy’s $300 million Netflix deal.

Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, The Prom made history last year when its cast performed on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which aired on NBC, marking the event’s first televised LGBTQ kiss.

DeBose earned a 2018 Tony nomination for her performance as Disco Donna in Broadway’s Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. She also worked hard for your money in musicals like HamiltonA Bronx TalePippinMotown, and Bring It On!

The Prom isn’t DeBose’s first jump from stage to screen. She also stars as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming remake of West Side Story.

DeBose spoke to NewNowNext last year about her decision to come out publicly as queer. “I never felt I had anything to hide, and I’ve never felt I had to claim a label,” she said. “I’ve always been open about my views and about loving whomever I love. But when an outlet approached me in 2015 to talk about who was dating, I realized I hadn’t really had a coming out. So I called my grandparents, like, ’Hey, just in case you hadn’t picked up the hint, I date both genders, I like what I like, but I do move toward women, so I hope you’re okay with that!’”

She also discussed her interaction with LGBTQ fans on social media. “I get messages from young people I’ve helped find the courage to come out or to tell someone they like them,” she said. “I don’t take that lightly or for granted, so I try to be careful with my words and how I respond. I encourage young people to try new things, to be cautious without censoring yourself, and to allow yourself your feelings.”

Celebrity interviewer. Foodie and Broadway buff in Manhattan. Hates writing bios.
@brandonvoss