BY: PHEOBE HORIBE
With Broadway’s re-opening plans uncertain, shows are finding new ways to bring theater to audiences everywhere. The musical Diana: A True Musical Story — which was set to open March 31st and did not — has announced they will be recording their show for Netflix.
“We speak for the entire company when we say we couldn’t be more excited to finally be able to share our show with theatre lovers everywhere. Though there is no substitute for live theater, we are honored to be a part of the quality entertainment that Netflix provides its subscribers worldwide,” the Diana producers said in a joint statement.
Producer Frank Marshall — who has produced other Broadway shows such as Margaritaville, as well as many films including Back to the Future, The Goonies, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom — played a pivotal role in inking the deal with Netflix and others.
Since the company will be all together, the team has decided to also record a cast album while they’re at it (release date TBD). The show plans to record without an audience present to ensure the safety of the cast and crew, and the producers and team are also working closely with the Actors’ Equity Association to meet safety requirements regarding COVID-19.
The team behind Diana wants to show audiences this production in hopes new fans will want to see it live. While some might worry showing a recording would diminish the desire to see a performance live, others argue that you simply can’t replace the experience of seeing a live performance and familiarizing people with the material could drive them to the theater once Broadway reopens. And it’s worth mentioning that it’s hard to ignore the success of Hamilton on Disney+.
While Hamilton broke all kinds of records with its recent streaming release, it was filmed in a traditional setting, complete with a crowd. Performing Diana for a vacant theater will be a different kind of challenge. Last month, Andrew Lloyd Webber spearheaded a “test run” of a show with a socially distanced audience, and declared it to be “sad” and a “misery for the actors.” So there’s that.
But performing a show once for a smattering of audience members may be harder to pull off than performing for zero audience members live, with the knowledge that the show could ultimately be seen by an unlimited number of viewers. In addition, the more people who catch a show at home, the more albums a show might sell; the more coffee mugs; the more t-shirts. You get the idea.
Diana will be the first Broadway show to have its World Premiere on Netflix and is set to release in 2021. The Broadway production is set to have its opening night on May 25th 2021.