Officially opening on March 3rd, the world-premiere 'Diana' musical began previews this week at La Jolla Playhouse's Mandell Weiss Theatre in California.
The musical about the life of late Princess Diana features the Tony Award-winning 'Memphis' creative team: librettist-lyricist Joe DiPietro, composer-lyricist David Bryan, and Playhouse Artistic Director and 2017 Tony winner Christopher Ashley, who directs, along with Tony-nominated choreographer Kelly Devine and music supervisor Ian Eisendrath.
Jeanna de Waal stars as Diana: "I hope people who didn't know about or weren't aware of her journey leave the theatre with an idea of what she did for the world. She made everyone feel special," she comments in the video above.
Jeanna is joined in the cast by Erin Davie as Camilla Parker Bowles, Roe Hartrampf as Prince Charles, and Tony Award winner Judy Kaye ('The Phantom of the Opera') as Queen Elizabeth.
The story starts with a bit of Diana’s childhood before focusing on her 1981 marriage to Charles, Prince of Wales, and their subsequent separation. It then centres around Diana in her 20s.
"It’s about her self-empowerment and how she was in this terrible marriage, but still managed to do so much good for the world. I’ve learned, at our core we’re all the same. We’re born into different genders, sexualities, races, religions, whatever, but we all want the same things out of life. We all want to be loved, we all want to have a purpose. If you write from the outside overlooking someone, you’re dead; but if you write from the inside and really try to feel what this particular character [feels] and what you share with them, you can write anyone," says DiPietro.