Netflix is teaming up with the production company behind Diana: A New Musical for a Broadway first: it’s bringing the musical to subscribers at home before the stage production opens to the public.
The move comes after Broadway was shut down in late March because of the pandemic. It hasn’t reopened. Although a handful of shows played onstage in previews, Diana wasn’t able to officially open on Broadway before the shutdown. Instead of waiting to get the show on stages next year (or whenever Broadway resumes), producers Grove Entertainment, Frank Marshall, and The Araca Group decided to team up with Netflix to get the show out, according to Deadline. The show, which is about the late Princess Diana and stars Jeanna de Waal in the titular role, will be filmed in an empty theater for Netflix. The musical will hit Netflix in early 2021 before opening on Broadway on May 25th, 2021.
“We speak for the entire company when we say that we couldn’t be more excited to finally be able to share our show with theater lovers everywhere,” the producers said in a press release. “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.”
Theater productions are becoming a big competitive business in the streaming space. Disney made Hamilton a Disney Plus exclusive — a move that saw massive increases in signups for the service, according to data from analyst firm Antenna. Disney CEO Bob Chapek also told employees in an all-hands call that Hamilton drove a big audience to Disney Plus the weekend the film came out, bringing in a new batch of subscribers that may not have signed up otherwise. Now, Disney is also adapting Once on This Island for its streaming platform.
Netflix is also no stranger to bringing theater productions to its service. The company has brought shows like John Mulaney and Nick Kroll’s Oh, Hello; Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway show; Mike Birbiglia: The New One; and an adaptation of American Son with the original Broadway cast to the platform. Netflix co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos told analysts on a recent earnings calls that they want Netflix to become a go-to destination for whatever people want to watch. That now includes Broadway show premieres.