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Coronavirus: Netflix to stream Diana musical before Broadway debut

Roe Hartrampf and Jeanna de Waal pose at a Meet & Greet for the new cast and creative team of the new musical Diana Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jeanna de Waal stars as Diana and Roe Hartrampf as Prince Charles

Diana the musical will be streamed on Netflix next year before it makes its official Broadway debut.

This is an unprecedented move for the entertainment industry which is dealing with coronavirus restrictions.

Broadway theatres remain closed during the pandemic and may not reopen this year, according to experts.

The musical, based on the life story of Princess Diana, is now not scheduled to open on Broadway until 25 May next year.

A filmed version of the musical, featuring the original Broadway cast, will be made without an audience in New York. Netflix hasn't given a date for when this will be streamed on its site.

"Though there is no substitute for the live theatre, we are honoured to be a part of the quality entertainment that Netflix provides its subscribers worldwide," the producers of Diana said in a joint statement.

The production, which was originally set to open this March, had been running in previews at the time of theatre shutdowns in the US.

Hamilton hit

This is the first time a Broadway show has gone straight to the small screen before its theatrical debut.

Other Broadway shows have also been streamed but only after they were performed to live audiences.

The Disney+ service began streaming a filmed version of Hamilton, the runaway Broadway hit, earlier this summer.

Production companies have been reluctant to release filmed versions of shows while productions are still running in theatres, let alone before they have started their run.

The concern is that once audiences have seen the movie version at home, they might not want to watch the live version in a theatre.

But the industry is changing its views and adapting to theatre shutdowns by looking at online alternatives. Experts say the film version can put a show on an audience's radar and gain global exposure.

The film industry faces the same dilemma with many studios opting to release movies straight to streaming services rather than cinemas.

Disney decided to do this for its summer blockbuster Mulan which will debut on its Disney+ TV platform bypassing US movie theatres.