The reviews for Diana are in and ouch did the critics tear it to shreds. They all agree that the tone of the musical is just plain off; the team really missed the mark, often cringingly so. Some feel it’s so bad that it actually warrants a hate watch, but with a version available to watch on Netflix, will audiences spend the money on a Broadway ticket for the privilege? Time will tell.
New York Times Review of Diana
“Was there ever a greater tabloid tale?” Sung by a pack of slithering paparazzi amid an explosion of flashbulbs, so begins “Diana, the Musical,” which seems to exist to answer the question. Digging deep into the celebrity-bio-musical barrel, there to squabble for pre-eminence with pop divas and Jersey boys, it may well win the prize as the tawdriest and least excusable wholesaling of a supposedly true story ever to belt its way to Broadway.
TimeOut Review of Diana
This number, titled “The Dress,” encapsulates the combination of bad taste and tasty badness that is Diana, one of the most enjoyable Broadway farragos of the 21st century so far. The real Princess Di died in 1997 at the age of 36, and her story might be the stuff of opera. Instead, in defiance of the potential gravity of their subject, book writer Joe DiPietro and composer David Bryan—who share blame for the show’s lyrics—have opted for a campy, dishy pop-rock clip job of memorable moments from Diana’s life, rendered in a stream of ploddingly banal rhyming couplets set to tunes that sometimes assume a vaguely 1980s accent.
Deadline Review of Diana
By now you’ve probably read, heard or seen for yourself, via Netflix, just how deliciously bad Diana is, but the truth isn’t quite so much fun. Diana, opening tonight on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre, is not a so-bad-it’s-good disaster. It’s just a regular, run-of-the-mill mess, a well-intended celebration of a beloved figure undone by one bad turn after another. More’s the pity.
Variety Review of Diana
The almost impressively artless new Broadway musical from “Memphis” creators Joe DiPietro and David Bryan — which does plenty of its own speculation about the dead — lacks any similar claim to daring, originality or taste…It could be camp — more sordid, more soapy, more altogether mad — if the creative team knew how to reconcile the ridiculousness of their project with the gravity of its true story.
Broadway News Review of Diana
To answer the question that absolutely no one with a Netflix account and an interest in Broadway musicals is asking: Why, yes, “Diana, The Musical” is every bit as abysmal as rumored. Social media was briefly aflame with withering descriptions when the show first began streaming in October, so the Broadway opening — long delayed by the pandemic — almost feels like a pointless afterthought. The wedding cake that was flavorless to begin with is now both flavorless and stale.