Ashlyn Eggebrecht admits there’s some trepidation about playing one of the most famous women ever.
The Nebraska Wesleyan University student from Milwaukee will portray Princess Diana in “Princess Diana, The Musical,” which opens Thursday in McDonald Theatre.
“So many people have a picture of her in their minds,” Eggebrecht said of the first wife of Charles, the Prince of Wales. “It’s kind of daunting to do.”
NWU extended its theater season in order to premiere the new musical by Omaha songwriter, playwright and Diana admirer Karen Sokolof Javitch.
Chuck Penington, a longtime NWU Theatre collaborator and musical conductor of Chip Davis’ Mannheim Steamroller, introduced Javitch to the NWU staff.
Directed by NWU theater professor Jack Parkhurst, the musical chronicles Diana’s life from her courtship with Charles to their troubled marriage and divorce to her tragic death 12 years ago.
“We are still so saddened by the death of this wonderful woman who gave so much to the world,” Javitch said. “Writing ‘Princess Diana, The Musical’ was my way of trying to keep her memory alive.”
Javitch wrote the script with Elaine Jabenis, an Omaha actress, author and businesswoman.
Many scenarios familiar to Diana admirers will be portrayed in the musical, including Charles and Diana’s romance, wedding and the ongoing conflict with Camilla – the other woman.
“There is some beautiful music and songs in there,” show producer and NWU theater professor Joan Korte said. “It also has its share of lighter and comedic moments.”
Eggebrecht was in elementary school when Diana died in a car accident. She said she remembers the headlines and funeral, but not much else.
To prepare, she’s read books about Diana and watched YouTube videos of her to absorb how she walked and talked.
And the hairstyles …
“They’re wigging me,” Eggebrecht said. “Two different wigs. One in the first act when she’s a little younger and another to reflect the time change.”
Reach Jeff Korbelik at 473-7213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.