The troubled Off-Broadway musical Queen of Hearts may not be out of the wood yet. On Sept. 27, it was announced the Princess Diana musical would come to New York after all, albeit with a change in director. The new musical by composer Claudia Perry and director/librettist Stephen Stahl is scheduled to begin performances at Off-Off-Broadway's Grove Street Playhouse on Oct. 2 -- not Oct. 1 as originally announced -- and Christopher Casoria will take the place of Stahl as director. Charles Eversole will serve as musical director.
However, as of Oct. 1, sources close to the production could not say for certain the show would go forward. The project has been through some turmoil since first being announced last summer. As reported in The Daily News Sept. 16, producer Marilyn Majeski and Stahl clashed over whether the librettist would direct the piece. When Stahl was forced out, he and Perry tried to wrest control of the show away from Majeski.
According to sources, a flurry of lawsuits followed, and Stahl even succeeded in getting four cast members to mutiny and abandon the production, including the performer playing Camilla Parker-Bowles. In the end, however, Majeski triumphed and Stahl and Perry are reportedly trying to climb aboard the project once more. Stay tuned to Playbill On-Line for further updates.
Opening Oct. 5, Hearts follows the life story of Diana Spencer, who rose from middle-class life to become the Princess of England, but then divorced Prince Charles and died in a terrible car crash with her rich boyfriend, Dodi Fayed.
Lady Di will be played by Kendra Munger. Charles is in the musical (played by James A. Walsh), as are the personages of Diana's two children, Parker Bowles, Princess Grace of Monaco, and various reporters and various Palace officials. A former student at LAMBDA (the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art), newcomer Kendra Munger plays Lady Di, according to spokesperson Jim Baldassare. "It's a very loving and basically straightforward portrait of Diana," author Stahl said in a statement.
Stahl's previous credits include the Olivier-nominated Lady Day; composer Perry has contributed numerous songs to the NY cabaret circuit.
Designing Queen of Hearts are Robert F. Wolin (set), Dale Beverly (costumes) and Scott Davis (lighting).
For tickets ($20-$35) and information on Queen of Hearts, scheduled for a five-week run at the Grove Street Playhouse (Seventh Ave. & West 4th St.) call (212) 741-6436.
--By Robert Simonson and David Lefkowitz