Walnut Hills Grad Jo Ellen Pellman Stars In 'The Prom' For Netflix

Dec 10, 2019

Jo Ellen Pellman is going to The Prom on Netflix, and look who's going with her -- Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, Keegan-Michael Key, Awkwafina and late-night talk host James Corden.

The 2014 Walnut Hills High School graduate has landed the leading role in the film version of The Prom, the Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical about Emma, an Indiana high school senior, who was banned from taking her girlfriend to the prom.

Streep, Kidman, Corden and Andrew Rannells play "hilariously self-obsessed" Broadway stars who "swarm into a small conservative Indiana town in support" of Emma, according to the International Movie Database.

Director Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story, Nip/Tuck) started filming this month. (CBS has announced that Corden will be absent from his CBS Late Late Show for two weeks to film the movie, through Dec. 20.)

Deadline called her an "up-and-coming actress" who was found by Murphy and Netflix "after a nationwide search."

It's a huge major break for Pellman, who played Bob Cratchit's daughter for four years in the Playhouse In The Park production of A Christmas Carol while attending Monfort Heights Elementary School and White Oak Middle School. She also has appeared in many Cincinnati children's theater productions.

As Playbill said, "the Cincinnati native has been honing her musical theatre chops since she was a kid."

Pellman's IMDB page lists only four other credits: Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; HBO's The Deuce; Comedy Central's  Alternatino with Arturo Castro; and The University, a web series. She made her TV debut last summer in the Comedy Central show, according to her Joellenpellman website.

"While at (the University of) Michigan, Pellman appeared in productions of Me and My Girl, The Tempest and Grand Concourse. But she’s also proven her chops for comedy. She played Kitty in the university production of The Drowsy Chaperone and, for her senior showcase at Feinstein's/54 Below, sang Sally Brown’s solo 'My New Philosophy' from You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," Playbill says.

Pellman earned a bachelor's degree in musical theater and a minor in creative writing from the University of Michigan. She's also studied Shakespeare at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, and taught theater workshops with Michigan Performance Outreach Workshops in Ann Arbor, MI, and Khula Aasman Trust in Mumbai, India.