In a surprising twist, an upcoming Broadway musical about the life of Princess Diana will make its debut on Netflix next year before it opens on the Great White Way. The musical’s producers announced the decision Wednesday, laying out a clear plan for how the production would be taped. Diana will be released on Netflix in early 2021, then open on Broadway on May 25, 2021.
“We speak for the entire company when we say that we couldn’t be more excited to finally be able share our show with theatre lovers everywhere,” lead producers Beth Williams, Frank Marshall, and the Araca Group said in a joint press statement. “Though there is no substitute for the live theatre, we are honoured to be a part of the quality entertainment that Netflix provides its subscribers worldwide.”
Per the New York Times, the production plan will include recurring testing for everyone involved in the musical. In addition, the show’s cast and stage managers will follow an isolation protocol, and the Longacre Theatre will change its air-conditioning system to ensure proper ventilation. The musical will be recorded without an audience. The Actors’ Equity Association has approved the safety plan, giving a thumbs-up to the cast to also rehearse and record a cast album.
The show stars Jeanna de Waal as Diana, Roe Hartrampf as Prince Charles, Erin Davie as Camilla Parker Bowles, and two-time Tony winner Judy Kaye as Queen Elizabeth II. The musical was originally set to debut on March 31, but was forced to shut down because of the ongoing pandemic. Broadway as a whole has remained closed since then, with plans for some theatres to (tentatively) start reopening in 2021.
Diana seems like a perfect fit for Netflix, landing at a highly convenient time for the royal-obsessed streamer. The upcoming fourth season of The Crown, one of Netflix’s biggest and most decorated original series, will finally introduce Princess Diana (played by Emma Corrin) to the plot, a development fans have eagerly awaited since the show’s inception. What better chaser for the series than to dive into an entire musical about Di’s life? Mmmm, algorithms.
The Diana acquisition also arrives a little over a month after Netflix competitor Disney+ saw outrageous success with Hamilton, a filmed version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s award-winning musical. In a July call to investors, Netflix cofounder, chairman, and co-CEO Reed Hastings took a subtle dig at Hamilton, making it clear the streamer wasn’t too threatened by its popularity. “We want to be like your primary, your best friend, the one you turn to,” Hastings said of Netflix. “And of course, occasionally there’s Hamilton, and you’re going to go to someone else’s service for an extraordinary film. But for the most part, we want to be the one that can just always please you, be the convenient, simple, easy choice.”
Now Diana will offer a healthy bit of competition in that space. Netflix is also no stranger to releasing theatrical works, most recently debuting the Broadway drama American Son, starring Kerry Washington, and Springsteen on Broadway, Bruce Springsteen’s solo Broadway show.
This article originally appeared on Vanityfair.comAlso read:
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