A musical about the life of the late Princess Diana has begun previews in New York’s Broadway district on March 2nd and is set to open on March 31st. The original production begun at the La Jolla Playhouse in California before moving to the Longacre Theatre.
The production has been put together by a number of Broadway veterans including the team behind the Tony winning musical Memphis with composer David Bryan, director Christopher Ashley and writer/lyricist Joe DiPietro. Christopher Ashley recently won a Tony for his work on Come From Away, with Kelly Devine, who did Come From Away’s musical staging, choreographing Diana: A True Musical.
The story is set in the year 1981 when the world prepares for a royal wedding and it follows her life story with a marriage to a distant Prince Charles, being the most hunted Paparazzi target the world has ever seen and her relationship with an unmovable monarchy. Diana’s gentle compassion, activism, honesty and glamour makes her an international icon and earned her enduring public support and popularity even threatening the royal family’s hold on the United Kingdom.
Jeanna De Waal, who has credits on Broadway including Kinky Boots and Carrie off-Broadway, will be first time premiering a role on Broadway playing the iconic late Princess.
“To bring Diana to life onstage is obviously a huge privilege,” quoted De Waal. “I feel very daunted by the prospect, but I hope people who didn’t know about her and weren’t aware of her journey leave the theatre with an idea of what she did for the world. She made everyone feel special, from the highest person to the lowest-ranking person, and I think we want to celebrate her.”
The musical also stars Erin Davie as Camilla Parker Bowles, Roe Hartrampf as Prince Charles, and two-time Tony winner Judy Kaye as a stern Queen Elizabeth.
The company also includes Zach Adkins, Tessa Alves, Ashley Andrews, Austen Danielle Bohmer, Holly Ann Butler, Stephen Carrasco, Bruce Dow, Richard Gatta, Lauren E.J. Hamilton, Emma Hearn, Shaye Hopkins, Andre Jordan, Gareth Keegan, Nathan Lucrezio, Tomas Matos, Chris Medlin, Laura Stracko and Bethany Ann Tesarck.
Diana remains one of the most popular members of the royal family throughout history, and she continues to influence the principles of the royal family and its younger generations. At a time when her youngest son Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle are to depart the royal family due to similar media scrutiny, the story and lesson’s we were mean’t to learn from Diana’s life could not be more relevant.