“The Prom” star Isabelle McCalla talks the political significance of the Broadway hit and what it means to fans

“The Prom” star Isabelle McCalla talks the political significance of the Broadway hit and what it means to fans

“The Prom” may have came to a close, but the Broadway show leaves behind an indelible mark on the fans, actors and stagehands who carried it through 309 performances at the Longacre Theatre.

“There are so many memories that I’m never going to forget,” actress Isabelle McCalla told ALL ARTS, rattling off a list of milestones that include performing opening night in a blizzard, a real-life wedding on stage and more. “I’ve gotten to do what I’ve always wanted to do with people that I’ve looked up to my entire life.”

The show, which snagged a Drama Desk Award and seven Tony Award nominations since debuting on Broadway in 2018, follows an opportunistic set of once-famous theater actors as they descend on a small, conservative Indiana town after hearing that a local school canceled its prom to prevent a lesbian couple from attending. The fading Broadway stars, who desperately need a comeback, attempt to use their advocacy on the issue to soak up some good press — a flawed plan that nevertheless results in a sharp, heartwarming story about inclusivity and acceptance.

McCalla, who plays popular and closeted teen Alyssa Greene, said the show’s relevance to today’s political and social landscape helped it resonate with fans. In the season premiere of “Broadway Sandwich,” she recounted the moment when a young audience member came out to her family at the stage door. It was an event that McCalla said helped her understand the show’s significance and how deeply some had let the show into their lives.

Go Behind-the-scenes of “The Prom” with Broadway Sandwich! 

"The Prom" Musical Backstage Tour with Isabelle McCalla

🚨It's finally here! The Prom star Isabelle McCalla gives Garen Scribner a backstage tour — and offers up a cooking lesson in the Season 2 premiere of Broadway Sandwich!

Posted by ALL ARTS on Wednesday, August 14, 2019

“We’re commenting on things that are happening in our politically fractured time,” she said. “The emotional impact that we’ve had has been particularly thrilling, especially just talking to kids at the stage door who tell us these stories helped them have the courage to come out,” McCalla said.

She continued: “I’ve felt a huge responsibility because I’m telling this story that so many young girls and boys relate to across the country. Just people who are trying to find themselves and come to terms with who they are and find people who love them in spite of it — or because of it.”

McCalla said saying goodbye to her character and the cast and crew that have rounded out her life for the past year will be difficult. Although she’s excited for the future — and several upcoming projects she can’t yet mention — it’ll be a blow when the final curtains close at the Longacre. Still, she knows “The Prom” fans have a lot to look forward to, including a major motion picture adaptation of the story starring Meryl Streep and an upcoming book.

“I’m with these people that are the most gifted, kindest people in the world…” she said.”As an artist, it was a great challenge to play [Alyssa] and to take that on.”

Go backstage with McCalla in the premiere episode of Broadway Sandwich. Stream the show on YouTube, Facebook Watch and on the free ALL ARTS app.


Top Image: Still from "The Prom." Photo: Deen van Meer.