THE PROM and LGBTQIA+ Rights and the Well-Being of Our Queer Youth

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Broadway’s The Prom takes center stage in this raw discussion about LGBTQIA+ teens and the discrimination they often face. After opening on Broadway in the fall of 2018, the musical comedy earned five Tony nominations, including Best Musical, and will debut on Netflix in a musical movie adaptation December 11, 2020. Inspired by true stories, The Prom spotlights Emma, an Indiana teenager banned from her prom for wanting to take her girlfriend. When aging Broadway stars Dee Dee Allen and Barry Glickman find out (and their show closes due to bad reviews), they decide to rehab their images by becoming celebrity activists and taking up the cause of this “LGBQ-teen.” The Prom illuminates the issue about acceptance and identity of LGTBQ+ folx, especially youth. Whether you are queer, the parent of a queer child, or a queer ally, this conversation will offer guidance about self-love, the importance of affirming LGBTQIA+ folx, and how we do that. 

Tony nominees co-book writer Bob Martin and co-book writer and lyricist Chad Beguelin to talk about the ins and outs of writing The Prom for Broadway and adapting it for the screen. Plus, policy leader and advocate Jennifer Driver and mental health counselor Isaac Archuleta guide us on healthy and safe practices and policies to aid self-discovery in LGBTQ+ youth; what we can all do to make kids feel safe and loved, to help parents of LGBTQ+ youth respond more healthfully to their kids, and schools and communities embrace kids of all orientations and identities; and policies we need to support to create lasting change for our youth and queer communities of all ages.

Listen to the cast album here!

Watch the Netflix movie here!

Referred to in this episode:

Create the Change:

Why We Theater is a product of part of the Broadway Podcast Network, edited by Derek Gunther, and produced by Alan Seales.

Follow us @whywetheater on Instagram & Twitter.

Our theme music is by Benjamin Velez. Hear more at

Our logo is by Christina Minopoli. See more at

Special thanks to Genesis Johnson, Dori Berinstein, Leigh Silverman, Patrick Taylor, Tony Montenieri, Elena Mayer, Wesley Birdsall, and Suzanne Chipkin. 

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Chad Beguelin, lyricist and co-book writer of The Prom

Chad is a six-time Tony Award nominee. His works include Disney’s Aladdin (Tony Award nomination for Best Book and Best Original Score, Drama Desk Award Nomination for Best Book and Outstanding Lyrics), The Prom (Tony Award nomination for Best Book and Best Original Score, Drama Desk Award Nomination for Best Book and Outstanding Lyrics) and The Wedding Singer (Tony Award nomination for Best Book and Best Original Score, Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Lyrics). He also wrote the lyrics for the Broadway musical Elf, which broke several box office records at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. His play Harbor premiered Off-Broadway at Primary Stages. He is the recipient of the Edward Kleban Award for Outstanding Lyric Writing, the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Awards, the Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Musical Theater Award and the ASCAP Foundation Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award. Chad is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Dramatic Writing Program. He currently lives in New York with his husband Tom and their dog, Tucker.


Bob Martin, co-book writer of The Prom

Bob has been working as a writer, performer, and producer in television, film, and theatre in Canada and the U.S. for more than three decades. Bob is a co-creator of the musical The Drowsy Chaperone, which has had dozens of productions worldwide after winning 5 Tony Awards (including a Tony for his co-writing). His second Broadway musical, Elf, has enjoyed similar success with multiple productions worldwide each holiday season in both theatres and arenas. The Prom, his third Broadway musical garnered high critical acclaim, a New York Times Critic’s Pick, and earned him a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical. A Netflix adaptation of The Prom with an all-star cast, helmed by Ryan Murphy, will drop December 11. Recent theatre projects include Hey Look Me Over! (Encores!), Half Time (Chicago, Paper Mill), and The Sting (Paper Mill) His theatrical endeavors in development include The Princess Bride, Night at the Museum and SMASH. Bob was the co-creator of “Slings & Arrows,” which multiple publications continue to name as one of the best television shows of all time. His television projects also include “Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays” (CBC), “Michael: Everyday” (CBC), and “Sensitive Skin” (HBO), and more in development.


Isaac Archuleta, MA, LPC

Isaac is a mental health professional with a masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. He is the Founder and CEO of iAmClinic in Denver, Colorado, and the former executive director at the Gay Christian Network. In his words: as a young child, Isaac often felt odd, like a broken boy. After years of being teased by family and peers, Isaac started to hate himself. Growing up in a religious home filled him with both hope and deeply entrenched shame. After surveying his religious beliefs and sexuality, with several years in therapy, Isaac found a resting spot that felt holistically authentic. He now offers professional help to help those navigating the road he’s journeyed. Isaac uses a model that is based on relational repair – whether that be a focus on one’s relationship with their self, another, or their higher power, as well as relationships with a substance or an unwanted pattern. He diagnoses how the relational pattern was set up, how it remains dysfunctional, and what needs to be achieved to help you accomplish your goals. He is also the host of the podcast Queer RelationTips.


Jennifer Driver, Founder of Take Root Strategies

Jennifer is an award-winning reproductive health, rights, and justice policy and advocacy leader. She brings over 10 years of experience lobbying for reproductive health, rights, and justice issues at the local, state, and federal levels. In addition, she brings 12 years of training and education experience working with sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations. Throughout her career, she has worked to reduce health disparities and elevate the importance of incorporating health equity across fields- child welfare, education, health care, criminal justice, and immigration. Most recently, Jennifer served as the Vice President of Policy and Strategic Partnerships with SIECUS formerly the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, where she provided leadership to drive the organization’s federal and state policy and advocacy efforts and to build cross-movement and intersectional strategic partnerships and collaborations that advance sexual and reproductive freedom for all at the intersection of queer liberation, racial justice, and reproductive justice. A dynamic trainer, presenter, and spokesperson on reproductive health, rights, and justice, Jennifer has been featured and quoted in national media, including The Washington Post, Vogue, The New York Times, Rewire, The Zig Zag Podcast, The Harvard Political Review, B*TCH Media, and Politico.


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