Rising British actress is revealed as the star of Diana: The Musical – and she looks JUST like the beloved royal in a trailer for the show
- British actress Jeanna de Waal, 30, will play the title role in Diana: The Musical
- The show premieres at La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla, California, in February
- Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Queen are among the characters
- de Waal, who trained at Tring School for the Performing Arts, said it’s a ‘privilege’
A rising British stage star will play the title role in Diana: The Musical, it has been announced.
Jeanna de Waal, 30, said it is a ‘huge privilege’ to portray the princess in the musical retelling of her life.
The actress, a graduate of the renowned Tring School for Performing Arts and the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, remains a relative unknown despite a handful of roles in high profile musicals including Wicked, Kinky Boots and American Idiot.
But she will find herself thrust into the spotlight when the hotly-anticipated musical premieres at La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla, California, in February.
Breakout role: British actress Jeanna de Waal, 30, right, said it is a ‘huge privilege’ to portray Diana in the musical retelling of her life. de Waal looks strikingly similar to Diana in a trailer for the musical, pictured. The show premieres at La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla, California, next year
Industry insiders expect Diana will later transfer to Broadway as producers look to cash in on the royal fever gripping the US.
Speaking in a video interview published on the theatre’s YouTube channel, de Wall said: ‘To bring Diana to life onstage is obviously a huge privilege.
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‘I feel very daunted by the prospect, but I hope people who didn’t know about her and weren’t aware of her journey leave the theater with an idea of what she did for the world.
‘She made everyone feel special, from the highest person to the lowest-ranking person, and I think we want to celebrate her.’
Strikingly similar: Costume designers will draw on Diana’s signature style to create pieces for de Waal to wear on stage. Pictured, the princess with First Lady Barbara Bush in July 1991
The clip shows de Waal channeling the princess in a white blazer with large black buttons, even adopting her signature pose of looking up through her eyelashes.
The musical, directed by Tony award-winner Christopher Ashley, will focus on the story of the princess’ marriage to Prince Charles, and will feature appearances by the Duchess of Cornwall and the Queen, as well as other key figures in the royal circle.
Speaking to the New York Post last year, playwright Joe DiPietro revealed at the end of the first act, Diana has a solo called ‘A Pretty Girl in a Pretty Dress’ that captures the moment she can ‘turn the tables’ on the Palace.
Cast of characters: The musical will feature appearances by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall (pictured together earlier this month) and the Queen
He also promised the team would not ‘skimp’ if the show did make it to Broadway, adding: ‘This is a woman who used style and fashion to gain power.’
A description on the theatre’s website reads: ‘In 1981, an assistant kindergarten teacher married the Prince of Wales and, overnight, became the most famous woman in the world.
‘But behind the fairytale, there was a troubled marriage and a young woman struggling to find her voice.
The world premiere of the play will be held at La Jolla Playhouse, California, in February. Theatre insiders predict the musical will later transfer to Broadway
‘Facing an entrenched monarchy and unprecedented media scrutiny, Princess Diana surprises everyone – including herself – as she grows into a global phenomenon and manages to change the world.’
It adds the score will be ‘sweeping and contemporary’.
The play marks the third collaboration between DiPietro and Bon Jovi keyboard and composer David Bryan.
It was read at the Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College in July of last year, with de Waal in the role of Diana.
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