Many have sung the praises of Princess Diana, but a new stage production is literally setting the story of her life to music. Beginning in February 2019 and simply titled Diana, the musical will premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in California. The stage show will be set in 1981, the year Diana married Prince Charles and instantly became one of the most famous faces on the planet. Producers say the play will start with the preparations for the couple’s highly celebrated wedding, then follow as “Princess Diana surprises everyone — including herself — as she grows into a global phenomenon and manages to change the world,” according to the official website’s description.
The creative team behind the production includes a trio of Tony winners: director Christopher Ashley and musicians Joe DiPietro and David Bryan (who is also well known as the keyboard player for Bon Jovi.) Of course, there’s a lot of pressure when casting someone to fill Diana’s royal shoes. The beloved princess lives on in the hearts of so many of us who still remember her unwavering kindness and determination to make the world a better place. The director clearly understood that as he explained, “For this iconic role, we were looking for someone who could portray Princess Diana’s incredible warmth and poise, along with her deep inner resolve to forge her own identity in the highly controlled environment of the royal family,” according to a report from Vanity Fair. The production believes they found that in British actress Jeanna de Waal, who Ashley went on to describe as having “all these traits and more.”
The actress certainly isn’t taking the role lightly, saying: “To bring Diana to life onstage is obviously a huge privilege. I feel very daunted by the prospect, but I hope people who didn’t know about her and weren’t aware of her journey leave the theater with an idea of what she did for the world.” You can take a look at the video below to hear more from de Waal and see whether you agree she’s a good match to play the People’s Princess. Tickets are on sale now through the playhouse website for those anxious to see the production in person.