By: Renee Grant
Twenty years after her death, Princess Diana is just as popular today as ever. The story of the beloved royal’s life could even be heading to Broadway.
The princess’ fairytale wedding and subsequent tumultuous marriage is the subject of a musical project simply titled Diana, which will have a reading at New York Stage and Film at Vassar College during the week of July 23rd. Broadway producers eager to bring the storybook tale to life are expected to appear.
A three-week workshop is also in the works for the La Jolla Playhouse in the fall.
Tony Award-winner Christopher Ashley directs the musical, which focuses on Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles.
Bon Jovi keyboardist/composer David Bryan and book writer/lyricist Joe DiPietro will team up on the production, their third project together. Their second work, Memphis, won a Tony in 2010.
“We finished the show at the end of last year,” DiPietro tells the NY Post. “With some shows, the doors open very quickly. They are opening very quickly with this one. People are fascinated by Diana and her legacy.”
DiPietro was inspired to tell Diana’s story when he read Tina Brown‘s The Diana Chronicles.
“I knew a little bit about her — the basic stuff. Wedding, bad marriage, divorce and death,” he says. After doing his research, though, DiPietro learned about the extent of the House of Windsor’s role in Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles.
“She was a blue blood, she was beautiful and she was a virgin, which was hard to find in 1980s London,” DiPietro says. “She was manipulated, used and misunderstood, but she rose to the occasion and then used her popularity to gain power. The royals never thought this uneducated woman could accomplish what she did. I thought she’d make a wonderful lead character in a musical.”
DiPieetro also says the musical, if it makes it to Broadway, will be a true production.
“This is a woman who used style and fashion to gain power,” DiPietro says. “We won’t skimp!”