Theater Review: ‘Pretty Woman: The Musical’ successfully blends movie and music
“Pretty Woman: The Musical” is a great blend of the best parts of any Broadway-style show and the classic film “Pretty Woman.”
In case you don’t know, “Pretty Woman: The Musical” is based on one of Hollywood’s most beloved romantic movies of all time, and starred Julia Roberts as Vivian, a prostitute who falls in love with a rich guy who is lost in life, Edward, played by Richard Gere.
Imagine the movie “Pretty Woman” and a romantic movie musical put together to make a Broadway show. That is exactly what “Pretty Woman The Musical” is like.
The original songs put a new twist on the story of two people whose lives were completely changed by their meeting. Although some of the new songs will resonate more than others. The belted-out ballads definitely got more of a response from the audience.
I loved the punny comedic additions to the original movie storylines, and the colorful costume changes and the hair styles brought me back to 1990, when the original movie premiered.
The dancing and musical numbers ranged from operatic to ’90s power ballads. The red dress numbers gave me the feels and then some. Their soulful powerful voices gave me goosebumps.
Brought to the stage by lead producer Paula Wagner, “Pretty Woman: The Musical” features an original score by Grammy winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, and a book by the movie’s director Garry Marshall and screenwriter J.F. Lawton.
The set design was mixed well with the choreography, comedy, and additional components that the production added to the original movie’s storyline. Travis Ward-Osborne played “Happy Man”, who appeared multiple roles, and was my personal favorite.
The story is a unique romance story with a large theme set around female empowerment. Vivian has a high sense of self-awareness and is steadfast in her notion to prove that she can’t be defined by her job. “The musical had to show that she was willing to walk away from everything because she couldn’t be bought. She had her direction and she was going to stick with it,” said Producer Paula Wagner. “A butterfly emerged and the butterfly was very strong and empowered.”
All in all, it’s a sexy, fun, and feel-good musical about two damaged people finding and making each other better humans. Oh, don’t worry, the whole ensemble joins in at the end for a sing-a-long of Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman”. PS. My 23-year-old son has seen the original movie, but isn’t into romantic movies like I am. He thought the musical was just OK.
“Pretty Woman: The Musical” is playing through March 5, 2023, in the Walt Disney Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center in downtown Orlando. It will also be touring across the U.S.