A musical based on the life of Princess Diana, titled Diana, will first screen on Netflix early next year before it opens on Broadway in May 2021.
Diana will star British actress Jeanna de Waal as the People’s Princess in a production that was originally scheduled to open on Broadway on 31st March. The COVID-19 shutdown prevented that, although it had started previews on 2nd March.
Deadline reported that Diana would be the first musical to appear on television before it opened on Broadway, a game-changing development after the likes of mega-hit Hamilton established itself on Broadway before being filmed live and streamed on Netflix.
Besides de Waal in the title role, Diana would feature American actors Roe Hartrampf as Prince Charles, Erin Davie as Camilla Parker Bowles, and two-time Tony Award winner Judy Kaye as Queen Elizabeth.
According to Diana’s producers, the musical was the story of “a princess thrust onto the world stage. The tabloid media captivated by her beauty and vulnerability. The globe’s most celebrated monarchy disrupted. This is the story of the most famous woman of the modern age as she struggles to endure a spotlight brighter than any the world had ever known.”
The story would be about a woman who led “fiercely with her heart… stood up for her family, her country and herself. She defied expectations, she rocked the royals and she created a legacy that will endure forever”.
The book and lyrics were written by Joe DiPietro and music and lyrics by David Bryan. It will be directed by Christopher Ashley and filmed without a live audience at the Longacre Theatre for the Netflix show. Producers Grove Entertainment (Beth Williams), Frank Marshall and The Araca Group have been working with Actors’ Equity to ensure the musical would be a safe environment for cast, crew and audience.
Equity Executive Director Mary McColl said in a statement, “Today, we can announce that we have approved a safety plan for Diana. Now comes the hard part – taking a safety plan from the page and putting it into practise. The work to provide the safest workplace possible in this environment will require everyone to work together, from the employer to every employee.”
Equity said the production plans included rehearsals, the recording of a cast album and the Netflix performance.
Deadline suggested the Netflix performance prior to Broadway reopening would most likely mean Diana will be the first production to open on Broadway after the shutdown.