The Prom is based on a 2018 Broadway musical by Matthew Sklar, Chad Beguelin, and Bob Martin. Beguelin and Martin also worked on the screenplay for Murphy’s adaptation, which follows the same plot of the musical in which a couple of fading Broadway stars rally behind a small-town high school student who wants to take her girlfriend to the prom.
I’m here for Meryl Streep as a highfalutin Broadway diva a la Patti LuPone, Nicole Kidman as a hapless chorus-girl, and Andrew Rannells as a reluctant TV star who sort of tags along with them, but I’ll tell you what I’m not here for – James Corden’s travestying portrayal of narcissistic Broadway star Barry Glickman.
Many have likened what James was attempting to do with Nathan Lane’s actual public persona, and for good reason! Nathan is a Tony award-winning actor recognised the world over for his work on stage in The Producers, Guys and Dolls, Angels in America, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He’s also known for his TV and movie roles, appearing in Modern Family, The Birdcage, and of course The Lion King as the voice of Timon! He is an incredibly obvious and worthwhile choice IMO.
Bonafide gay icon Harvey Fierstein would’ve nailed the roll of Barry! Harvey has won several Tonys, and is known for writing the books for the musicals La Cage aux Folles and Kinky Boots, as well as for originating the role of Edna Turnblad in the 2002 Broadway production of Hairspray! Let us bear in mind that Barry Glickman is supposed to be around the same age as Meryl’s character Dee Dee, so this casting would’ve been perfect. Like, I’m FR gutted that it wasn’t Harvey.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt alumnus Tituss, would certainly have lit up the screen as the male lead in The Prom. Having appeared in numerous Broadway productions – including Jersey Boys, The Little Mermaid, and Guys and Dolls – and won legions of fans around the world with his incredible comic timing and robust tenor voice, Tituss seems like absolute no-brainer!
Listen, I’m not against a straight man playing the role per se, as long as he does it respectfully and WELL, which we know Stanley would. Not only is he a huge star, Stanley’s on-screen chemistry with Meryl is undeniable, having appeared together in The Devil Wears Prada and Julie & Julia. I actually have no idea if Stanley can sing, but if he can he’d be shoo-in for the role of Barry!
Neil has shown off his pipes on several occasions, taking on the lead role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway back in 2014, for which he won a Best Actor Tony award. He’s appeared in singing roles in Glee and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and non-singing roles in A Series of Unfortunate Events, Gone Girl, and How I Met Your Mother. Even though he’s a little younger, I think he’d still be a casting choice in The Prom.
We all know Billy Porter can sing and act – you need only watch Pose to realise that for a fact! He attended school for musical theatre and has featured in Broadway productions such as Kinky Boots, Little Shop of Horrors, Grease, and Miss Saigon. He’s also collaborated with Ryan Murphy several times before for Pose and American Horror Story. A fierce advocate for LGBTQ rights and a trailblazing star-on-the-rise, it would have been amazing to see Billy as Barry.
Welsh actor Luke has a long history as a West End performer, appearing in musicals like Rent, Miss Saigon, Avenue Q, La Cava, and Taboo. He has since become known for his film roles in movies such as Fast & Furious 6, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and Beauty and the Beast, in which he played the singing role of Gaston. Luke also released a studio album last year, so he definitely has the singing and acting chops for the gig – although he might be a little young and roguishly handsome for the role!
Queer icon Alan Cumming has had a long and eclectic career in entertainment that includes singing roles on both the stage and on screen. His iconic turn in Cabaret back in 1998, and again in 2014, earned him numerous accolades including a Tony Award for Best Actor. He is also known for his TV and movie roles in the Spy Kids trilogy, The Good Wife, and of course, Spice World.
The comedian and star of such TV shows and movies as Parks and Recreation, American Horror Story, Difficult People, and The Lion King, is actually the same age as James, so he’d be just as qualified to step up to the plate! And he can sing! And as if that wasn’t enough, fans of the Funny Or Die web-series Billy on the Street will know this man is obsessed with Meryl Streep! So… you know… that’s a perfecting casting combo.
James is best known for his Tony award-winning performance as The Genie in the original 2014 Broadway production of Aladdin, but in truth he’s been on Broadway several times! He has starred in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Hamilton, and he originated the role of Bobby in Memphis to name a few examples. James is also known for his on-screen appearances in Maniac and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Come on, let’s swap James for James!
Modern Family alumnus Jesse has taken to the stage in several musicals, making his debut in On the Town and originating the role of Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a production for which the entire cast won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble. He is also know for work in Ugly Betty, The Class, and So You Think You Can Dance. His unique charm and comic timing would make him a fabulous addition to The Prom cast!
Dan Levy needs no introduction. The supremely talented creator of runaway hit TV series Schitt’s Creek has gone from strength to strength since 2015, hosting The Great Canadian Baking Show and recently starring in queer holiday rom-com Happiest Season. A former MTV host, Dan’s prowess for singing remains unknown, except for this, but we know he can do comedy and he loves the divas, so really he can’t be any worse than James!
Sonny and Cher’s son Chaz is no stranger to the stage, having starred in and produced the off-Broadway productions Independence Day and Down the Road. He’s already worked with Ryan Murphy on two seasons of American Horror Story, and has appeared in Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Bold and the Beautiful, and The Sonny and Cher Show. Chaz is also a singer both in the band Ceremony and as a solo artist, so we know he can sing!
Ben has become quite the movie star, racking up starring roles in films such as The Danish Girl, Paddington 1 and 2, two Bond movies, and the 2018 sequel Mary Poppins Returns, the latter of which involved singing and dancing! The 40-year-old actor is certainly no stranger to working with industry powerhouses like Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, and would’ve really brought something genuine and special to the movie, I’m sure.
Another Ryan Murphy favourite, Zachary has been burning up our screens ever since he played unstoppable villain Sylar in the sci-fi drama Heroes. Since then he’s appeared in Star Trek, American Horror Story, and The Boys in the Band – both the stage and screen versions. He’s appeared on Broadway several times, and acted plays such as Smokefall, The Glass Menagerie, and Angels in America. Although none of these require singing per se, I’m sure with a few lessons he’d be ready to take on Barry Glickman!
Here’s something novel – why didn’t Ryan Murphy take a chance and cast the actual guy who performed the role on Broadway? The Tony Award-nominated actor, who is openly gay, originated the part back in 2018, and has also appeared on and off Broadway in The Producers, Bullets Over Broadway, Gypsy, and Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me. His acclaimed performance offered peaks and valleys in the character and actually felt sincere – something James just couldn’t deliver.
And finally, how about this – if Ryan Murphy was desperate for James Corden to be in his adaptation of The Prom, why couldn’t he have played the supporting role of Trent Oliver – whose sexuality is never specified – and Broadway darling Andrew Rannells have played Barry Glickman? Andrew already has the voice, the look, and the Broadway credentials (The Book of Mormon, Falsettos, Jersey Boys). A little switcheroo and all my contempt for this film would melt away! Although, James would still be in it so a little bit would remain.
This is an LGBTQ-centric movie, and there are so many Drag Race girls who could have easily taken on the role of Barry Glickman and given extra meaning to the film! Ginger Minj, Nina West, Peppermint, Jinkx Monsoon, or BenDeLaCreme – any of these ladies could have lead the movie with aplomb.
So who’s got your vote?
News – 17 Notable Actors Who Could’ve Played Barry Glickman In “The Prom” Instead Of James Corden