Written by: Makenna Arnold
Royalty meets the Renaissance Center in Kingsport Theatre Guild’s Princess Diana: The Musical. Local actors from all parts of the Tri-Cities came together to bring history to life in this sweeping production.
The Kingsport Theatre Guild is one of only 10 theaters selected to perform the musical, and they received a grant in order to help bring the show to local audiences. Kingsport Theatre Guild is thrilled to kick off their monumental new season with such a special production.
With around 30 songs, choreography plays an enormous role in Princess Diana. Choreographer Jessica Barrett says that there is a wide variety of musical styles in the show, and she wanted her choreography to reflect each one. Everything from classic musical theatre dance to ballroom is represented in the production. According to Barrett, she brainstormed much of the choreography while watching interviews with Diana—but the most poignant inspiration came from videos of Diana while the princess was surrounded by her friends and family. Barrett wanted the choreography to be more than just movements; she wanted it to aid in telling the story. Her goal is, she said, “to bring the story to life” through her choreography.
Kingsport local Shelby Potter also breathes life into the production with her portrayal of Princess Diana. Potter says that she found multiple surprising similarities between herself and the “People’s Princess.” In order to study Diana’s mannerisms, Potter not only watched videos of the princess but also found second opinions about her through the eyes of people who knew her. Potter is excited to show audiences the “normal person” that Diana was underneath her responsibilities and her representation in the media. Christy Peters, who is playing Queen Elizabeth, had a similar take on her character. She enjoyed researching the Queen and delving deeper into her history. Peters remarked that she is honored to be playing such an iconic woman—but the role also has sentimental value for her. Peters said that she vividly remembers watching the Royal Wedding with her mother. She grew up seeing Princess Diana in the media. While any fan of Diana will enjoy the show, Peters commented that the show is also perfect for those who know little about the princess. The show gives an in-depth look, through the eyes of Diana, at the struggles the young woman faced as she was thrust into the public eye. Both Potter and Peters are excited to share this story with the community.
Princess Diana: The Musical will open at the Renaissance Center on June 15. The show will run on June 15, 16 and 17 at 7:00 p.m. There will also be matinee performances on June 17 and 18 at 2:00. Tickets can be purchased through www.kingsporttheatre.org or calling the box office at 423-392-8427. Tickets are also available through the Kingsport Theatre Guild office, located in room 211 of the Kingsport Renaissance Center.