UPDATE, with Actors’ Equity statement In a Broadway first, Diana: A New Musical, the stage production about Princess Diana that went dark with the COVID shutdown just prior to its opening night, will premiere on Netflix next year before its new May 25, 2021 Broadway opening.
Directed by Christopher Ashley and starring Jeanna de Waal as the title character, the musical will be filmed without an audience on the stage of the Longacre Theater for the Netflix debut.
A Netflix airdate was not announced.
The announcement was made today by producers Grove Entertainment (Beth Williams), Frank Marshall and The Araca Group. Prior to Broadway’s coronavirus shutdown this past March 12, Diana had started previews March 2 with a planned March 31 opening night.
Producers have been working with Actor’s Equity Association on all health and safety protocols. 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 practice. 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 include rehearsal, the recording of a cast album and the performance at the Longacre to be filmed Netflix. The provisions of the safety plan include initial and recurring testing for Equity members, an isolation plan for the actors and stage managers, and HVAC changes to ensure ventilation in the back of the house, among other requirements.
The staging for Netflix will feature the original Broadway cast, including de Waal, Roe Hartrampf as Prince Charles, Erin Davie as Camilla Parker Bowles, and two-time Tony Award winner Judy Kaye as Queen Elizabeth.
“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 producers said in a statement today. “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.”
The staging for Netflix prior to the industry re-opening should, technically, make Diana the first show to return to a Broadway stage following the COVID hiatus. Diana also will become the first Broadway production to debut on television prior to the stage production’s official opening night.
The musical features a book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music and lyrics by David Bryan, the team behind Broadway’s Memphis. The production marks director Ashley’s returns to Broadway following his Tony-winning direction of 2017’s hit Come From Away. Kelly Devine is the choreographer for Diana, with music supervision and arrangements by Come From Away‘s Ian Eisendrath.