When Diana: A New Musical premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, California, earlier this year, it was described as "a high-gloss but lo-cal paean to a princess" by the San Diego Union-Tribune. Seven months after the conclusion of its original run, the high-gloss factor still stands—especially as the play heads to Broadway.
Diana is one of the few shows born at the La Jolla Playhouse to have made its way to New York City (it debuts here in March 2020), though that's certainly unsurprising to any royal watcher. After all, the musical is centered on the life of Princess Diana—a woman who still dominates headlines more than two decades after her passing, and is frequently mentioned in comparison to her daughter-in-law, Meghan Markle.
"It's an honor to tell her story," Tony Award–winning director Christopher Ashley tells MarieClaire.com. "Who else marries into the royal family, finds themself in this crowded marriage with her husband [Prince Charles] and Camilla [Parker Bowles], and manages to go on the extraordinary journey that she went through? I've always been fascinated by her, but it's amazing that we're still talking about the impact she's had decades later."
All of the original La Jolla stars will revive their roles at the Longacre Theater in the spring. Jeanna de Waal, who plays Princess Diana, is joined by Roe Hartrampf as Prince Charles, Erin Davie as Camilla Parker Bowles, and Tony Award–winner Judy Kaye as Queen Elizabeth. MarieClaire.com received an exclusive sneak peek at the first official photo of the Broadway cast, below, alongside their costumes designed by Tony Award–winner William Ivey Long. Ashley jokingly admitted that Long did "a psychotic amount of research on Diana and what she wore," and has a studio filled with pictures of Lady Di.
"It's amazing to work with a designer who has that level of knowledge and detail and passion about what [Diana] meant to fashion and the world of style," explains Ashley. "Everyone working on the show cares so much about getting this right."
The Broadway version of Diana will have a revised script, plus seven new songs composed by Grammy winner David Bryan (the keyboardist from Bon Jovi!). The music includes rock scores inspired by the '80s that feel surprisingly modern, which seems to be the overarching theme of Diana and the nonconformist life she led.
"The current royal family would not have been possible without Diana," says Ashley. "How she brought her sons up and how she changed the conversations about what it was like to be royal made the choices that Harry and William have made [over the years] possible."
To purchase tickets to see Diana at the Longacre Theater, click here.
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