Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

A musical of Princess Diana's life is set to open on Broadway in 2020

'Diana' has been described as 'no more British than 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey'

Sir Elton John has spoken at length about his friendship with Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, in his new memoir. Getty Images
Sir Elton John has spoken at length about his friendship with Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, in his new memoir. Getty Images

A new musical about the life of the late British royal Princess Diana will land on New York City's Broadway next year, and judging by the reviews from its San Diego preview run it could, like that other British classic Marmite, split opinion.

The LA Times was damning in its verdict of the show, simply called Diana, saying the show is “no more British than The Real Housewives of New Jersey.The Times’ critic Charles McNulty added that the show is "as American as Applebee's [and] has a generic quality that for all its efficient smoothness seems culturally misplaced."

McNulty concluded: “The show doesn't work, but that hardly matters these days for a musical that can draw in the tourist masses.”

The Hollywood Reporter was less damning in its assessment. The Reporter’s Deborah Wilker claimed that the show “seems to have many of the pieces needed for a hit,” and added that the British public would “eat it up.”

The San Diego Tribune’s James Herbert, meanwhile, noted that while there is “plenty to like” about the show, it feels “in such a rush to work through key events of the princess’ life … that it has trouble pausing to help us get inside her head a little.”

The role of Diana is played by Jeanna de Waal, who has previously appeared in American Idiot and Kinky Boots on Broadway. Prince Charles is played by Roe Hartrampf and Joe Dipietro teams up with Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan on lyrics and music respectively. This pairing previously won two Tony Awards for the stage show Memphis in 2010.

Diana will open at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre on March 31 next year, with preview performances starting on March 2. There are currently no plans for any UK performances of the new musical, so British audiences eager for a fictitious glimpse of the deceased royal will have to turn to Naomi Watts in the 2013 movie, also called Diana, for the time being, or wait for Diana's arrival in season four of Netflix's The Crown, expected at some point in late 2020.

Updated: August 14, 2019 01:33 PM

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