Diana The Musical

16 Apr

The Princess Diana musical starts with a girl in a replica of Diana’s iconic wedding dress. The veil is pulled over her face, her hands hold a plastic bouquet.

Real Diana enters the stage in an orange skirt suit. “You know what I was thinking right here, at this moment? Before I agreed to all ‘this’ — perhaps I should’ve dated him more than 13 times.”

The crowd roars.

Thus begins Diana: a new musical.

Diana is a delight.

Diana the human being, of course, the woman who took to the stage at the Royal Ballet to dance to Uptown Girl for Charles’s birthday.

But Diana the musical as well.

It is big and loud and electric. I felt like I went to a concert, one where the rock stars were bitingly funny, clothed in couture, and occasionally wore tiaras.

I laughed out loud, in that sort of way when you’re not expecting it and can’t hold it in. I fell for the music, I fell for Diana.

Jeanna de Waal captured Diana so well. The young, bright-eyed kindergarten teacher who barely knew Charles when she said yes. The romantic who loved happy endings.

The sad married woman, the mother, the woman who regained her power, who used the press as a weapon, who confronted Camilla at a party.

That was a particularly fun scene. Diana strutting in. Pulling Camilla aside.

The two powerhouses singing back and forth. It was set up like a boxing match, with spectators on the side, as both women duked it out. Both women wanting the same man, but loving him for different reasons.

Diana didn’t want a divorce.

That’s perhaps the tragedy in it all.

She just wanted her husband to love her. She had the adoration of the world, but not the adoration of her spouse. Her parents had divorced when she was young and she didn’t want that for her kids.

But what to do when the man you married never really loved you?

One of the great opening songs is called

Whatever love means anyway

During their engagement, when asked if they were in love Diana answered “of course,” while Charles said, “Whatever in love means.”

That line was turned into a song. The beginning of the end.

The beginning of the beginning.

Charles, Diana and Camilla are all players in this Greek tragedy. Charles kept from the woman he loves. Diana unable to gain his affection. Camilla living a life on the fringes. It wasn’t fair to anyone.

And Diana, the lively, bright, loving, emotional Diana was left behind.

Of course, Diana’s story is what she made of it.

Traditionally, she would be a side note, an afterthought. Camilla and Charles are the star crossed lovers here, kept apart by tradition, by a country, by a monarchy! I’ve read this story many times. We’ve all read this story.

And the poor fool who marries the person already in love with someone else is always a minor character in this plot. We don’t know how they turn out. We only care about our lovers.

Diana flipped this narrative on the head.

She wasn’t just a girl stuck in the middle, she was a girl with her own story to live. And so, through her heart and grace and charm and vivacity we all cared more about her story than that of the protagonist.

She emerged triumphant while Charles and Camilla quietly ended up together, no longer the stars of their own show.

The musical is framed in “once upon a time.” For that’s what this was seen as– a modern fairytale, Diana a modern princess!

And then there’s the reality. At one point Diana sings, “I need a prince to save me from my prince.”

The ending was my only qualm with the musical.

Well, I also wish we had seen the infamous interview with Martin Bashir. I’d have loved to have a song around “There were three in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded” or even her “Queen of hearts line.”

But other than that, the ending was my only qualm.

It’s all rather abrupt. She dies. The chorus sings a few lines.

Diana returns, triumphant, in her white beaded gown and tiara, a Gandalf the White, gone through the fires and returned stronger than ever to bow to the crowd.

Show ends.

I wanted…

I wanted more.

I bought every piece of merchandise the show offered.

I tried to start normal. An ornament, a magnet. Fine, OK, a tote bag. But I use tote bags!

Not thirty seconds after leaving the stand, I realized I would regret it forever if I didn’t have the mug, the stationery.

I wanted the CD but it doesn’t exist yet.

I have to believe that it will soon. That this show will make its way to bigger stages, to a worldwide audience. How could it not?

With music by a founding member of Bon Jovi. With costumes by a man who owns over 100 books on Diana’s looks.

With differing musical styles for differing characters. With inside jokes only royal aficionados will get, but an overarching tragedy, one that is instantly recognizable and felt by all.

Yes, Diana is a true delight.

Diana the human, of course, but Diana the musical as well.

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One Response to “Diana The Musical”

  1. Laurie Langlois Denning April 17, 2019 at 6:14 am #

    Sounds like a must-see!

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