From the thrill of dancing to the new Ronettes song to the life-changing assassination of a beloved President, American Dreams follows one family's journey through the joys and pains of America in the '60s and early '70s. At the epicenter of these earth-shattering times is Meg Pryor, a style-conscious 15-year-old whose life revolves around the popular dance show, American Bandstand. While Meg's younger brother and sister are concerned with simple pursuits, her older brother, JJ, is fighting to follow his dreams instead of his father's. And unbeknownst to the kids, their parents are struggling to define their own evolving relationship as partners, parents and people. Meanwhile, the world swirls around them — a vibrant combination of rock and roll, equal rights and soon, war. How will the changing times change this American family?
This evocative drama -- set against the memorable, upbeat sounds of the 1960s -- depicts a more innocent America as seen through the youthful Pryor family of Philadelphia as they brace for cultural turbulence ahead that still resonates in this contemporary era.
Likable 15-year-old daughter Meg (Brittany Snow, “Guiding Light”) strains against her “good girl” image -- and yearns to embrace the mores of her more experienced teenaged friend, Roxanne (Vanessa Lengies, “Popular Mechanics for Kids”) -- as they achieve their goal of becoming dancers on Dick Clark’s locally produced “American Bandstand.
Meg’s evolving behavior and her mother, Helen’s (three-time Emmy nominee Gail O’Grady, “NYPD Blue”), new influences clash with rock-solid family patriarch Jack Pryor (Tom Verica, NBC’s “Providence”). Will Estes (“7th Heaven”) portrays JJ Pryor, who resents his father imposing his dream of seeing his teenaged son play Notre Dame football. Ethan Dampf (“Collateral Damage”) portrays the youngest son, Will, and newcomer Sarah Ramos stars as Patty, the prissy little sister who can do no wrong.
In addition, Jonathan Adams (“The American Embassy”) stars as Henry, an employee in Jack Pryor’s electronics store. Arlen Escarpeta (“The Shield”) will portray Sam – Henry’s son – who receives a track scholarship at East Catholic High School. It’s through their eyes that viewers witness the upcoming civil rights struggles of the 1960s.
Virginia Madsen (“The Rainmaker”) also stars as a thought-provoking new friend to Helen, and Joseph Lawrence (“Blossom”) has a recurring role as “American Bandstand” associate producer Michael Brooks.
Dick Clark (“American Bandstand”) and Jonathan Prince (“Wilder Days”) are the executive producers. “American Dreams” is from NBC Studios and Universal Television.