‘The Prom’ Review: Ryan Murphy Turns a Message Musical About Tolerance Into a Fizzy and Elating Showbiz High

Among the shiny, bouncy, madly infectious musical numbers that are a big part of what make Ryan Murphy’s “The Prom” such an old-fashioned newfangled blast, one of the show-stopping highlights is “Love Thy Neighbor,” which Trent (Andrew Rannells), a struggling Broadway drama queen who has landed on the distant planet known as small-town Indiana, sings to a bunch of clean-cut and pious Middle American teenagers from James Madison High School.

They’re at a shopping-mall food court, where one of the students tells Trent, “We don’t have a drama program,” causing Trent to snap, “That explains your general lack of empathy.”He’s not kidding.

The kids are united in having banned Emma (Jo Ellen Pellman), their fellow senior, from taking her girlfriend, Alyssa (Ariana DeBose), to the prom; he’s about to give them a supremely catchy lesson in tolerance.

The students insist that they’re good,

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