“Diana, The Musical” Makes Diana, The Human, Come Alive Again
by Richard Greene
There’s a reason the reviews of “Diana, The Musical” are not good.
Likely none of the reviewers ever met the woman.
I did and because I did, I loved it and was moved by it.
In fact, for moments during the play I had the inescapable feeling of going back in time. “Diana, The Musical” made Diana, The Person come alive again, for me.
Neither the Netflix “Diana, The Musical” or any 2 dimensional television or film portrayal can come close to capturing what live theater with living, breathing real humans can communicate, especially with a play about THIS human.
Being just feet away from Jeanna De Wall, felt, almost eerily at times, like being in the presence of The Princess of Wales herself. No impersonation of a former living icon is perfect but Ms. De Wall captured much of the essence and the nuances of the nursery school teacher who went on to enchant, and even mesmerize, an entire planet.
But theater critics miss the point by ignoring the phenomenon of Lady Diana in their cerebral analyses of and focus on the production. Like “Mamma Mia”, perhaps, the appeal is beyond rationality. For Diana it’s archetypal, it’s psychological on very deep levels, she is that rare story of the powerful feminine that lies, often beneath the surface, in every woman. Just ask any woman alive as an adult in 1997 and let me know if you can find one who was not deeply shaken by Diana’s death. The deep bonds of connection were . . . and still are . . . universal.
And that’s the point. And the point of the play. And why — even if it truly was horrid (which it certainly is not) every woman and many men who watch the play will get re-triggered with that special Diana magic that we have all missed for these past 24 years.
I’ve met many amazing human beings in my work in 53 countries across the planet and have never encountered anyone like Diana. This was one remarkably special soul.
Part of that magic was that there were two of her living simultaneously inside of one body — the painfully shy, sensitive young woman who seemed to be naively at the effect of all that surrounded her . . . and the bold…