Season 3 of The Crown is expected to cover the years 1964 to 1970 with Olivia Coleman taking over from Claire Foy as Her Majesty The Queen. The smash-hit show is still some distance from the modern era and is sure to generate its own controversy when it reaches the Diana years. A new musical is already there, created by an influential award-winning team behind major musicals like current West End hit Come From Away and Memphis. Early reports describe songs tackling the paparazzi, Diana’s relationship with the Royal Family and her encounters with James Hewitt.
The show is simply called ‘Diana’ and the director, Christopher Ashley, won a Tony Award from transatlantic smash Come From Away.
He is no stranger to controversial and sensitive subjects. Come From Away is the true story of the planes grounded during the 9-11 attacks on New York.
The music is from Bon Jovi star David Bryan who already has two Tonys for his previous musical, Memphis. Songs in the upcoming Diana musical include ‘Here Comes James Hewitt’, ‘Welcome To The Windsors’, ‘Secrets and Lies’ and ‘Snap Click.’
The actress playing Diana herself claims the show is a ‘celebration’ of the life of the princess.
Broadway star Jeanna de Waal said of Diana: “She made everyone feel special, from the highest person to the lowest ranking person, and I think we want to celebrate her.”
The show has had an early trial run and reviews found many faults but admitted it would probably be a crowd-pleaser. The LA Times said: “The show doesn’t work, but that hardly matters these days for a musical that can draw in the tourist masses.”
Diana is booked to open on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre on March 31, with previews from March 2.
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But what about the UK?
The Hollywood Reporter commented: “While the Royals themselves may be aghast at the thought of actors portraying them half-naked in bed on a stage, the British public would probably eat it up.”
That may be so, but it is difficult to imagine any main West End London theatre staging such a controversial show. Of course, money talks and all eyes will be on Broadway to see whether the public embrace it or not…