The new musical about Diana, Princess of Wales, was 19 days short of its March 31 opening night before all Broadway productions shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the aftermath, some shows that had only just begun (or were only just about to) announced they would not weather the hiatus and effectively close before opening.
But Diana is committed to reopening in 2021—and on top of that, it’ll first premiere on Netflix.
The Christopher Ashley-helmed production will be filmed on the stage of the Longacre Theatre, where previews began March 2, without an audience. It will then be released on the streaming platform sometime before its new opening night of May 25, 2021.
The production’s safety protocols have received approval from Actors’ Equity Association. The myriad provisions include routine testing, isolation plans for all actors and stage managers, and HVAC changes to ensure proper ventilation backstage.
While many shows have turned to the digital landscape in the wake of the shutdown, with Zoom-produced readings, online gala performances, and, across the pond, live-streamed productions without a live audience, this marks the first Broadway show to return to the theatre with an in-person/filmed hybrid model.
The full Broadway company is expected to return to their roles for the screen, including Jeanna de Waal in the title role, Roe Hartrampf as Prince Charles, Erin Davie as Camilla Parker Bowles, and Tony winner Judy Kaye as Queen Elizabeth.
Diana features a book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music and lyrics by David Bryan (the two won Tonys for their 2009 collaboration Memphis). The creative team also includes choreographer Kelly Devine, music director Ian Eisendrath, scenic designer David Zinn, costume designer William Ivey Long, lighting designer Natasha Katz, and sound designer Gareth Owen.
Rounding out the cast are 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 B. Hopkins, Andre Jordan, Gareth Keegan, Nathan Lucrezio, Tomǡs Matos, Chris Medlin, Laura Stracko, and Bethany Ann Tesarck.
The musical made its world premiere last year at La Jolla Playhouse in California, where Ashley serves as artistic director.