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Culture

From Fairytale to Myth: Lady Di Musical to Open in Germany.

A German musical with a British cast attempts to understand and recreate the life and loves of the world’s best loved Royal.

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British actress Karen Gillingham is the new Lady Di.

Fours years after her tragic death shook the world, Lady Diana is back - this time immortalized in a German musical production called " Lady Di - Diana - A Smile Charms the World". This modern-day fairytale that concentrates on the glamorous lady’s search for love kicks off with a world premiere in Saarbrücken, West Germany on November 10.

Producer Karl-Heiz Stracke, former Director of Theater des Westens in Berlin calls it a "musical memorial" to the almost mythical princess. He says he was inspired to do the production because Diana's life was such a powerful story of love - an element that had been forgotten in the tragedy of her death.

Understanding a Legend

Scriptwriter Thomas Führer says the musical is not a chronological autobiography, but rather a "psychological piece". "The story of Diana has a universal character, but still takes the audience along with it on a magical journey".

The musical opens with Diana’s death in a car crash in Paris. A figure announces that it’s a good thing that the princess is dead and peace will finally reign now. What follows is a psychological portrait of Diana in 22 scenes.

The cast of characters also includes Prince Charles, his lover Camilla Parker-Bowles and Dodi Al-Fayed, Diana's friend who was killed with her in the car crash in Paris on August 31,1997.

Scriptwriter Thomas Fuehrer feels that the piece is not black and white, but shows Diana, Camilla and Charles as individuals searching for love.

The musical steers clear of romanticizing Diana’s legend. Scriptwriter Führer says that unlike most musicals which take place in a fantasy world, this one is grounded in reality and only in song and dance does it drift into the magical world.

While the piece ends with the car crash in Paris, he said it leaves open whether her death was an accident or murder.

British Cast and German Lines

The cast is well-informed about Prince Charles and the other British Royals. After all, they all come from Britain! They learned the German songs and dialogues by heart. although none of them actually speak German.

Well-known German composer Peter Thomas, who’s written the score for the musical doesn't see this as being a problem.

"I find the English accents quite attractive because it's a musical about Britain. I think that the accents make the whole thing - the legend - more credible." British actress Karen Gillingham plays the role of Diana.

The world premiere in Saarbrücken marks the start of an extensive musical tour through Germany. More than a hundred performances are already planned.

Producer Karl-Heinz Stracke hopes to then take the musical to France and the Benelux countries.