Ryan Murphy Casts Lesbian Lead Role in Netflix Film “The Prom”

The queer actor joins the musical, which also stars Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman.

The Prom has finally found its queen!

Jo Ellen Pellman has landed the lead role of lesbian teen Emma Nolan in Ryan Murphy’s upcoming adaptation of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical The Prom, Deadline reports.

Pellman’s previous screen credits include The Deuce, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Alternatino. She described herself this week on Instagram as a "lil queer actor from Ohio" and called Emma "the role of a lifetime."

Pellman will party with previously announced Prom guests Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells, Awkwafina, Keegan-Michael Key, and Kerry Washington. Ariana DeBose will play Emma's girlfriend, Alyssa Greene.

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 high school 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.

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,” which begins shooting next month, 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.

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