The Broadway musical Diana: The Musical had a very special premiere on 1 October 2021. It was first released on the streaming service Netflix before going to Broadway in early November. The musical was in previews when the Coronavirus pandemic shut down Broadway in 2020.
Diana: The Musical follows the story of Diana from her engagement to the Prince of Wales, as she is thrust into the limelight at just 19 years old. We join Diana through the highs and lows of her married life and the eventual divorce, and her tragic death. I have to admit that I had to restart the stream as I found that I wasn’t really paying attention the first time around. Thus, it didn’t grab me from the beginning. This was not for lack of trying, though, as it sometimes bordered – and went way out there – on the ridiculous. I think I snorted when James Hewitt was presented by Barbara Cartland, popping up half-naked on a mechanical saddle.
For something that presents itself so seriously, it sure is a comedy. Not once did I feel myself well up with tears (like with the Diana and Sons musical – where half the theatre was left sobbing). One of the few touching bits was when Diana meets the AIDS patients; I thought this was quite respectfully done – as opposed to the grim-faced Welsh people she meets. Diana singing about how she hoped Charles would step aside to let William reign seemed ridiculous to me.
And then it’s suddenly over. As she sings about moving on, her death is announced, and she walks off the stage into the flashing lights. Perhaps a touching farewell or memorial song would have been fitting here? It seems to end too abrupt. I had high hopes for this musical, but unfortunately, it failed to live up to my expectations.
You can find more information about the musical here.