A lyric in the production number “Build a Prom” in smash musical The Prom, now on tour, inspires its queer stars Kaden Kearney and Kalyn West with its message of joy and hope for an inclusive future even amid challenging times.“My favorite lyric in this show is at the end when we're singing, ‘Build a prom for everyone…How the world could one day be it might come true if we take a chance until that day comes time to cue the drums, it's time to see,” Kearney tells The Advocate.“It’s acknowledging that we're not there yet, the day hasn't arrived…when we have reached equality and equity.
But until the day comes, we can dance, we can claim our joy, we can stand in the center of who we are, and celebrate who we are, and acknowledge that we have work to do,” Kearney says.In the tour of The Prom (finishing its run in Buffalo, NY on Oct.
2), Kearney plays Emma, a lesbian teen whose desire to dance with her girlfriend Alyssa (West) at their high school prom receives homophobic backlash from the PTA.
The conservative parents cancel the event rather than allow two queer girls to attend arm-in-arm. That’s when a group of Broadway stars in need of a publicity makeover take up Emma’s plight and head to her Indiana town with her as their cause célèbre.The tour of The Prom, which just finished a run at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles earlier this month, arrived at a more divisive inflection point for queer people (especially youth) than when the film dropped on Netflix in the fall of 2020 (there are currently more 300 anti-LGBTQ bills proposed throughout the United States).“I just want to dance with you,” Emma and Alyssa harmonize in their romantic, plaintive first number together.