Broadway’s original new musical The Prom made history on Thursday, giving the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade its first televised same-sex kiss ever — though some conservative groups weren’t too happy about it.
During the first hour of the annual event’s NBC broadcast, the cast of The Prom took center stage to perform their rousing finale, “Time to Dance,” which sees lead actresses Caitlin Kinnunen and Isabelle McCalla sharing a smooch during their character’s fictional night out at their high school prom.
It’s a celebratory moment in the show for the girls, considering the plot centers a group of out-of-work theater actors who swoop in to help the Indiana lesbian couple after the PTA threatens to have the dance cancelled if they attend. And the parade kiss had viewers around the country — and the cast — cheering too.
“The first #LGBTQ kiss in the Parade’s history. We here at @ThePromMusical have never been so proud,” wrote cast member Josh Lamon. “#LoveIsLove.”
“Even ten years ago, that wouldn’t have happened,” wrote on fan. “Despite everything terrible in the world, that progress like that can happen gives me hope love can still win.”
Of course, not everyone was happy about what they saw.
“It is sad I just had to change the channel from the #macysthanksgivingdayparade because my 5 yr old is asking me why the girl is wearing a tie and holding hands with the other girl during the ‘The Prom’ number,” wrote one upset viewer.
“#macysthanksgivingdayparade just had 2 girls kissing. Could have had a warning so parents could be aware!!!! Poor choice #NBC,” said another — adding later, “Doesn’t bother me. Just let me choose the time and place to have THAT convo.”
Added conservative group For America, “Millions of small children just watched two girls kiss and had their innocence broken this morning. @nbc and @Macys just blindsided parents who expected this to be a family program, so they could push their agenda on little kids. #macysthanksgivingdayparade #MacysDayParade.”
Reps for Macy’s seemed to remain firm in their support of the groundbreaking moment.
“At Macy’s, we are guided by our corporate values of Acceptance, Respect, Integrity and Giving Back,” a rep for the retail titan told Entertainment Weekly. “We hope that viewers found the 92nd Annual Parade entertaining with its traditional mix of signature balloons, fantastic floats and performances from the nation’s best marching bands and musical acts. We look forward to next year.”
“We like to be able to debut the best of Broadway, but we also like to show those viewers what they want to see,” Susan Tercero, the parade’s executive producer, told EW — adding the selection process for which theater shows to highlight on the parade “comes from what’s really happening on Broadway.”
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Meanwhile, producers for The Prom — which is directed by Casey Nicholaw and features music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, and a book by Beguelin and Bob Martin — were proud they helped make history.
“Broadway’s The Prom is grateful to Macy’s and NBC for their acceptance and inclusivity of a community and a story that is about acceptance, tolerance and love,” the musical’s producers Bill Damaschke, Dori Berinstein, and Jack Lane told PEOPLE in a joint statement. “These are some of the themes reflected in our musical comedy and we are very proud to be the very first LGBTQ kiss on the Thanksgiving Day Parade.”
Thursday’s kiss wasn’t the first time NBC has made history with a same-sex smooch. Back in 2000, the peacock network’s must-see-TV comedy Will & Grace featured the first men to ever kiss in a scripted program.
The Prom is currently playing at New York City’s Longacre Theatre.