Meryl Streep shares what she loves about starring in movie musicals

Meryl Streep in The Prom on Netflix (Photo by Melissa Gordon/Netflix)

Meryl Streep is no stranger to the movie musical. The Oscar winner has starred in Mamma Mia!, Into the Woods, and now The Prom, Ryan Murphy’s Netflix adaptation of the Broadway musical about a group of Broadway actors who go to middle America to fight for a young lesbian’s right to take her girlfriend to the prom.

While Streep is an undeniable tour-de-force and triple threat, her favorite part about musicals is, surprisingly, not the singing. 

“More than anything I love the dancing because I'm not a dancer in my actual life,” she said during a virtual press conference. “There are numbers in Prom where the young people get up, and when we were in the rehearsals, we'd be struggling with these numbers and then they would get up and just lift the roof with their exuberance and their joy and their just vitality and love of being alive. 

“That's a thing that, it's the breakout aspect of musicals,” she continued. “The fact that the lid comes off the pressure of your life, whatever it is, whatever your particular sadness is. It's irresistible in movie musicals when people start to dance. And the singing is great too, but that's what I love about musicals.”

And Streep gets to do a lot of her own dancing in The Prom, which she trained for for eight weeks, swimming a mile a day and working with dance instructors. 

“I'm the oldest person in the cast and I have the most dancing, which didn't make sense to me!” she said, explaining that she noticed the leading lady didn’t do a lot of dancing when she saw the show on Broadway. “All hell broke loose when I got to Los Angeles and they laid out for me what it was. So it was a lot of dancing, and I got in shape. It's a lot of stamina and man, it was hard work, but it was really, really fun.”

The Prom premieres on Netflix on December 11 and is in select movie theatres now. 

Photo credit: Meryl Streep in The Prom on Netflix (Photo by Melissa Gordon/Netflix)