Dan Cutrona

What a Wonderful World

Broadway’s Joe Grandy takes his talents to the Cape Playhouse

We look to you
In good times and bad
The worlds you create
Make the real ones seem less sad
The curtain goes up
And every now and then
It feels as if we’re coming home again

“We Look to You” from “The Prom”

There have been countless worlds Joe Grandy has helped create throughout his lifetime in theater, but perhaps none as momentous as “The Prom.” The hit Broadway musical—nominated for seven Tony Awards this year, including Best Musical, and set to receive the movie treatment for Netflix by Ryan Murphy—has struck a major cord with its message of self-acceptance. A heartfelt and witty story centered on two gay high school students who want to attend prom together, “The Prom” is about more than what’s on stage, says Grandy, a co-producer of the project—it’s a show with the power to change the lives of its audiences.

“So I thought, ‘We need to be a production that actually does that too,’” Grandy recalls. Before “The Prom” opened on Broadway in 2018, Grandy helped establish a partnership with the Educational Theater Association. A portion of tickets sales would benefit the organization’s Jumpstart program, which creates theater programs in schools without them. “We wanted to do that because it felt right and it felt like using our platform for a larger cause, but also that was shaping that world around the show and trying to say to people, ‘Coming here will not only change your life, it’s going to change someone else’s life,’” Grandy explains. “What I think of in building the world around a show, it’s introducing to the audience that yes, this show is entertaining, it’s wonderful, and it’s a great way to get away for a bit… but it’s also putting something else out into the world.”