After two years of preparation, the daughter of a South African father and an English mother, who was born in Bavaria and grew up in Great Britain, was just starting the preview of the musical Diana at the Longacre Theater when her Broadway run was postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic . (The show premiered in March 2019 at the La Jolla Playhouse, California.)
“So this show is about this once princess named Diana,” De Waal told Theater Mania at a cast event in February 2020, “and she met her prince charming, whose name was Charles. He had a love by his side for her, Camilla was called. And the story is how that relationship worked in a very public spotlight and what happened. “
De Waal, who is 6 inches shorter than Diana’s 5 feet 10, reads Andrew Morton‘s biography of the Princess of Wales from 1992 and spent hours studying YouTube videos to get her voice and mannerisms just right, including her posture that goes with graduating from school.
“If you’re trying to portray a painful moment at home or breastfeeding a baby, you don’t want people to say, ‘She looks like she’s in stripper heels,'” De Waal quipped the New Yorker in early 2020. What she observed when she saw the princess in action in old video footage, the actress remarked: “She fights, she survives, but she does these things with completely relaxed shoulders and smiling at the cameras.”
When asked why Diana’s story was worth telling, De Waal said, calling her a “dream role,” Broadway Inbound said, “I think the reason people want to see Diana is because she is still is such a big part of our zeitgeist and part of it is our consciousness. And I think we want to celebrate it. “
Diana will return to Broadway and Netflix in 2021.