Princess Diana Musical to Premiere on Netflix After Coronavirus Postponed Broadway Opening
Princess Diana is getting the Hamilton treatment.
Diana: A True Musical Story was just a week and a half into Broadway previews with a March 31 opening night set when the coronavirus pandemic forced New York City theaters to halt productions until the new year. But now, the show based on the royal's life and ill-fated romance has plans to head to the small screen.
Diana will premiere on Netflix in 2021 ahead of its new Broadway opening date, May 25. The musical will be filmed with the original cast on the stage of the Longacre Theater in New York City without an audience.
"We speak for the entire company when we say that we couldn’t be more excited to finally be able share our show with theater lovers everywhere," the show's producers said in a joint statement. "Though there is no substitute for the live theater, we are honored to be a part of the quality entertainment that Netflix provides its subscribers worldwide."
Diana is following the footsteps of Hamilton, which provided theater fans a front row seat to the original Broadway cast, including star and writer Lin-Manuel Miranda, in action straight from their living rooms when it aired on Disney+ last month.
The hit Broadway musical premiered in 2015 and went on to win 11 Tony Awards, all while turning into a cultural phenomenon. While the filmed movie version of the musical was originally set to hit theaters in October 2021, Miranda and Disney surprised fans by making it available during the 4th of July weekend on Disney+ — and it paid off big time with a 74% increase in downloads of the streaming service.
Following Hamilton's success, Disney+ is looking to bring the musical Once on This Island to their platform as well.
Jeanna de Waal, who stars as Princess Diana, previously told PEOPLE about the challenges of playing someone instantly recognized around the world.
"People, within like 2 seconds of seeing you, are going to decide: they either buy it or they don’t," said de Waal. "If they don’t buy it, it’s going to be hard for them to enjoy the story and get lost in it."
de Waal, who previously starred in Kinky Boots and American Idiot on the Great White Way, was just a young child when Princess Diana died in 1997, so the task of bringing the beloved international icon to the Broadway stage meant hours of "devouring" YouTube videos — everything from the princess in interviews to an eight-minute clip of Diana in mom mode with Prince William and Prince Harry.
"She’s not speaking, but you can see the way that she’s caring for Harry and William, and how she relates to them. How she watches so intensely,” the actress explained. "She doesn’t seem distracted by anything. She’s very present in every single moment that she’s involved with."
Diana: A True Musical Story also features Roe Hartrampf as Prince Charles, Erin Davie as Camilla Parker Bowles and two-time Tony Award winner Judy Kaye as Queen Elizabeth.