A new Broadway musical, The Prom, is making waves in big ways.
With music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, and a book by Beguelin and Bob Martin, is about a small Indiana town whose high school cancels prom after lead character Emma tries to bring her girlfriend as her date.
It claims to be the first musical with a lesbian couple as the protagonists, and it also made history as the first musical to air a lesbian kiss during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Its queer representation wasn’t only inspired by the need for it and true stories, but also by an unexpected figure: Vice President Mike Pence.
While speaking to NBC, Beguelin had a message for Pence: ‘I think you really need to come and see The Prom, and also, we set it in Indiana because of you.’
Before becoming VP, Pence was the governor of Indiana.
During his time as governor, his prediliction for anti-LGBTI policies. The Human Right Campaign released an extensive report earlier this year about Pence’s political history, including his time in Indiana.
‘It’s about love’
Beguelin continued his comments, saying their show ‘isn’t about ostracizing people’.
‘Our show is not about telling people, “You are wrong.” Again, it’s about listening and empathy and accepting, and so my invite [to Pence] would just be like, “Listen to our show. It’s about love.”‘
Lead actor Caitlin Kinnunen, who plays Emma, said the same thing: ‘I honestly want everyone to see this, and I want everyone on both sides of the spectrum, or all sides of the spectrum to see it.’
Pence has a somewhat contentious relationship with Broadway after he was booed when he saw a production of Hamilton. The cast ended up addressing him from stage.
According to Beguelin, though, the show has already made a positive impact.
‘We get so many people that after the show come up to us and say, “You changed my point of view.” There are some people that are like, “I was that homophobic parent, and I didn’t know what the show is about, and now I’ve really got to sort of reexamine my point of view.”‘