The Broadway industrial complex will leave no source of potential source material untapped, so it's almost surprising that it took this long for a major Princess Diana musical to be in the works. Yes, everyone's favorite royal is finally getting the song and dance treatment, and the project has a bevy of Tony-winning talent behind it.
Titled simply Diana, the musical will not be a life-spanning work, but rather will focus on a very specific and monumental time in her life: her wedding to Prince Charles and the timeline immediately following. Yes, Camilla Parker Bowles is very much a main character.
"Following her fairytale union, Princess Diana faces a distant husband, an unmovable monarchy and constant media scrutiny," writes Broadway.com. "But her unabashed honesty, modern perspective and gentle compassion galvanizes a nation, even as it threatens the royal family’s hold on England."
The score will feature a blend of "classical melodies" along with "1980s-inspired pop and rock music," which sounds just about right for a tale of a modern young woman joining a centuries-old stuffy institution like the British monarchy.
The music and book for the musical will come from David Bryan and Joe DiPietro, the team behind Memphis, which won the Tony for best musical in 2009. You might also know Bryan as the keyboardist and occasional songwriter from Bon Jovi. Christopher Ashley, who just won a directing Tony this year for Come From Away, will helm the project. No casting has been announced as yet.
The fact that Diana's story is being given the musical treatment however may not be a big surprise. Musical producers have been as hungry as ever for turning well known stories, material, films and life stories into potential Broadway hits. Movies like Mean Girls, Frozen, Death Becomes Her, 13 Going on 30, Pretty Woman, 17 Again, Beetlejuice, The Devil Wears Prada, Moulin Rouge, Magic Mike, The Preacher's Wife, and Roman Holiday are all in various stages of being turned into stage shows. Meanwhile, bio-musicals of Cher, Donna Summer, Britney Spears, Jimmy Buffett, The Temptations, Judy Garland, Josephine Baker, Don Cornelius and Pat Benatar are likewise in the works, and neither of those are complete lists.
So it's almost shocking that there wasn't a Diana musical already. And that's why DiPietro decided to make it in the first place.
"I thought it was a great idea for a musical, I asked around to see if anyone was doing it – no one was - so David and I just jumped into it," he told the London Theatre's website.
"It’s very much about marriage," he added. "The four main characters are her, Charles, Camilla and the Queen, it’s not about anything else."
The musical is set to premiere sometime during the 2018-2019 season of the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. That's no small matter, as the theater has a reputation for paving the way for its productions to head to Broadway. Jersey Boys, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Tommy, and several other Broadway hits originally premiered at the theater.