Netflix to Stream 'Diana' Musical While Broadway Is Closed
By Charles Passy
Broadway might be closed until at least January, but another
show is finding a home in the streaming world during the
"Diana," a musical based on the life of Princess Diana, will be
streamed on Netflix next year ahead of its rescheduled Broadway
debut on May 25, 2021, the show's producers said Wednesday. The
production, which was originally set to open this spring, had been
running in previews at the time of Broadway's shutdown in mid-March
as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
The Disney+ service began streaming a filmed version of
"Hamilton," the runaway Broadway hit, earlier this summer. Other
Broadway shows have also made deals with streaming services. For
example, "The Prom," a Tony Award-nominated musical that ran on
Broadway in 2018-19, is being developed for Netflix.
The producers of "Diana" said in a joint statement that "though
there is no substitute for the live theater, we are honored to be a
part of the quality entertainment that Netflix provides its
subscribers worldwide." Netflix Inc. officials declined to
For years, the Broadway community has had mixed feelings about
releasing filmed versions of shows while productions are still
running in the theater, let alone releasing a version before the
show even opens, as is the case with "Diana." The concern is that
once audiences have seen the show at the movies or on their
television or computer screens, they might have little incentive to
buy a ticket to watch it in person.
But that view is changing, especially when the far-reaching
impact of the streaming medium is taken into consideration. Shows
that might never otherwise have been on audiences' radars are
suddenly able to gain global exposure, say theater
"Think of it as a massive commercial," said Victoria Cairl, a
theater marketing and sales strategist.
The pandemic is also pushing Broadway producers to take a harder
look at streaming since shows have no other way to reach audiences
while theaters are closed, professionals added.
The streaming strategy might not work for every production. Mike
Rafael, a veteran ticketing consultant, said shows with limited
runs might not want to jeopardize their potential sales by
competing with another medium in such a short time frame.
Nevertheless, Mr. Rafael said that if the "Diana" Netflix film
boosts ticket sales, other producers are likely to take note.
"It will be very interesting to see how it plays out," he
Write to Charles Passy at firstname.lastname@example.org
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