Pretty Woman: The Musical Review Tasteless Romcom Returns With Tunes
Piccadilly theatre, London Danny Mac and Aimie Atkinson star in the schmaltzy and shallow Hollywood tale, told with a few winning songs
A businessman picks up a sex worker to turn her into his high-class escort for the week and they fall in love. However distasteful the elevator pitch for Pretty Woman may sound, it was a romcom that won hearts in 1990 and became the stuff of box-office dreams.
This musical adaptation about Vivian the prostitute and Edward the corporate vulture comes amid a surge of 80s and 90s nostalgia, including stage adaptations of Back to the Future and Indecent Proposal. Its wide-eyed worship of wealth makes no apology for the idea that everything even love emanates from the exchange of cold, hard cash.
Can the story still win us over? Not exactly. This feels like a shallow and at times tasteless show but, within the rules of a romcom, it works in its central, schmaltzy storyline of love despite the odds. There is also some attempt, however bolted on, to update the storys sexual politics.
Jerry Mitchells production has an ersatz feel, as if revelling in its nostalgia sex workers lining Hollywood Boulevard are in retro leather miniskirts and jean jackets. Atkinson looks like she has dressed up as Roberts in black thigh boots and blond wig. Danny Mac appears to be channelling Richard Gere, not only in his look but also in the woodenness of his performance.
A Forced And Choppy Retelling Of A Beloved Movie
Dear Readers, we’ve discussed this before. Not every movie needs to be made into a musical. Sometimes it works, “Legally Blonde”, “Waitress”, and sometimes it’s an unholy mess, “Flashdance”. Furthermore, not every pop star needs to turn to writing musicals. Sometimes it works, “Waitress” , “Memphis”, and sometimes you get an atrocious musical about a web slinging superhero. And while the current movie turned musical playing at the Paramount, “Pretty Woman” with music and lyrics by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance isn’t the unholy atrocity of some others, it certainly doesn’t work. Unfortunately, not only does it not work from the material but in this tour’s case, from the director and cast choosing to ham-fistedly shoehorn every joke, every moment down our throats.
You know the story, at least you should as the movie is quite wonderful. The hooker with a heart of gold Vivian meets uber rich businessman Edward . They meet by chance, and he ends up hiring her for the week he is in town to be on his arm with no complications. But of course, after hijinks with rude salesgirls, slimy colleagues, and a kindly hotel manager , the two fall in love.
This is certainly a movie that should have been left on the screen. And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give “Pretty Woman: The Musical” a “Big mistake. Big. Huge.” of a NAH. They kept asking “what’s your dream”. And I kept thinking, for the show to be over sooner.
Pretty Woman Already Had The Soul Of A Musical It Just Needed A Score And Staging To Match It Doesnt Quite Find Them Though It Still Has Its Moments
At root, Pretty Woman has always been a musical. Its a retelling of My Fair Lady with fewer gender hang-ups theres even an identical horse racing tableau that serves as the perfect homage. Its a shameless fantasy, and when its iconic images and lines are set to music for instance, the tagline Whats your dream? becomes an opening ensemble song and dance it becomes even more shameless.
Thats mainly due to the composer, whos been breathing Pretty Womans aesthetic for the past 30 years. In 1990, cellphones were the size of large bricks, the Hubble telescope was just entering orbit, and Bryan Adams was just sitting down in a London studio to write Everything I Do , the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves hit that would go on to become one of the best-selling singles of all time. Pretty Woman: The Musical sounds as though it was written during Adamss heyday, with a guitar-heavy score and plenty of ballads that could have been plucked from his biggest solo albums.
The truest exception to this general trend is the famous opera box sequence. Adams and Vallance mix and meld passages from La Traviata with the shows score, while the opera itself seems to surround and envelop our two lovers. Its a genuinely lovely moment pure creativity that delights an audience and mimics the immersive power of seeing a great stage production for the first time.
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About Pretty Woman: The Musical
Pretty Woman: The Musical, based on one of Hollywoods most beloved romantic stories of all time, is now on tour! Starring Broadway superstar and Tony Award-nominee Adam Pascal as Edward Lewis and rising star Olivia Valli as the charming and charismatic Vivian Ward, Pretty Woman: The Musical springs to life with a powerhouse creative team led by two-time Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell .
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 movies legendary director Garry Marshall and screenwriter J. F. Lawton.
Featured in the musical is Roy Orbison and Bill Dees international smash hit song Oh, Pretty Woman.
For more information, visit .
Theater Review: Pretty Woman The Musical
by Dan Zeff on December 15, 2021
Pretty Woman: The Musical is an adaption of the 1990 motion picture that made a star of Julia Roberts as Vivian, a Hollywood prostitute who wants out of her life on the streets. Providentially, and illogically, Vivian meets starchy unmarried billionaire business man Edward Lewis and turns his cold heart to love in time for the final curtain. The musical stage does not lack for sympathetic prostitutes as heroines and this one breaks no new territory as Vivian and Edward meet, and after the customary bumps in the romantic road, find love and purpose in their lives.
The show opened on Broadway to mixed reviews in 2018 and is now installed at the CIBC Theatre for a puzzlingly brief one week run to open its North American Tour. Pretty Woman has a strong chick-lit flavor and the opening night crowd was clustered with groups of applauding young women, suggesting there may a considerable audience for this product.
Olivia Valli, Adam Pascal, and Matthew Stocke
Jessica Crouch and Olivia Valli
The production runs about 2 & 1/2 hours, much of it devoted to song and dance numbers that displace stage time better devoted to fleshing out the relationship between Vivian and Edward. Over all, it will mostly please an audience with a high tolerance for clichéd love stories.
Kyle Taylor Parker
Amma Osei and The Company
Kelsee Sweigard, Olivia Valli, and Becca Suskauer
Olivia Valli and Adam Pascal
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Pretty Woman: West End Debut Gets Mixed Reviews
Pretty Woman: The Musical has received mixed reviews from critics after its debut in the West End.
The show, which has already enjoyed a successful Broadway run, opened at London’s Piccadilly Theatre on Monday.
Aimie Atkinson and Danny Mac take on the roles played by Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in the 1990 film.
“From the get-go, this is a heart-warming retelling of the film – sensual, sexy and full of sass,”wrote Howell Davies in The Sun.
“It is truthful to the iconic flick and doesn’t try to modernise it with woke changes to the much-loved story, which audiences will be grateful for.”
Theatre Review Pretty Woman: The Musical
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Pretty Woman: The Musical follows closely to the story beats of the original material of the 1990 film. Many famous moments and memorable dialogue gets played out live on stage. The adult audience will have a better time if theyre already familiar with that popular Richard Gere and Julia Roberts rom-com.
The first act focuses much on dance and choreography. And searching for the Hollywood dream to come true. The colors and set design distract from the adult beginnings of the story. Another element that perpetuate the fantasy dream ideology is the character of Happy Man filling in the smaller roles throughout the show. From selling maps to celebrity homes, to managing a hotel, and matching expensive outfits. The bellman has sporadic bursts of dance at the spur of a moment. A stroll through Rodeo Drive becomes a fashion runway. The second act concentrated more on the emotional grasp of the characters. The tug of war between their feelings based on their actions and occupation.
Not every musical number is a winner. But the ones that are are worth the time it takes to get to them. I thoroughly enjoyed Welcome to Hollywood, Something About Her, Freedom, You and I, and I Cant Go Back. I could easily listen to these song highlights all day.
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The Pretty Woman: The Musical Cast
The cast of Pretty Woman: The Musical is stellar. Pascals signature voice is unmistakable and is truly something to experience in person. His performance of Freedom feels effortless and emotional, even if the lyrics are about a rich man who just wants to break away from his current life. Valli is lovely and sizzling at the same time, and she brings an adorable allure to the stage. She can hold her own with songs like I Cant Go Back where her character desires to be more than what she was.
The supporting performers are also magnificent, especially Jessica Crouch as De Luca and Kyle Taylor Parker as Happy Man. Both actors electrify the stage with Crouchs captivating and strong voice and Taylor Parkers charisma whenever hes in a scene.
The original songs are fun and nice, but overall none were really catchy that had a lasting effect on us after the show was over. Of course, we cant forget about the iconic song, Oh, Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison thats been featured in the film. The show does a good job of teasing their version to the audience, and it does not disappoint.
Actors Give Their Roles Personality
Valli makes a giddily goofy Vivian, childishly delighted with all the new toys the week offers her, and though she earnestly takes on the big ballads about following her dreams and so forth that the part requires, she seems more at home with the playful, throw-away moments the musical often allows.
Pascal, who is best-known for the role of rock star Roger in the Broadway and Hollywood versions of Rent, has a satisfyingly luxuriant voice, though there sometimes seems to be a wide gap between the uptight character he plays and his lush musical expression.
Jessica Crouch makes the most of the opportunities provided for belting out big numbers in her role as Kit, Vivian’s wisecracking best friend. And those with a taste for fairy-tale endings will be happy to see that Kit is awarded one of her own here.
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Taking over at least for the March 29 performance for Happy Man, a role scheduled to be played by Kyle Taylor Parker, swing performer Michael Dalke was charming as he switched nimbly between a kind of emcee supervising the action to the benign hotel manager who helps Vivian fit into society, as well as several other roles. Though not as vocally strong as the other lead characters, his dancing and acting made him a delightful addition to the story.
The film’s many fans should leave satisfied with its transformation into a frothy musical delight.
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Pretty Woman: The Musical Is A Delight
Pretty Woman is a classic Hollywood romantic film starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, directed by Garry Marshall and written by J. F. Lawton. The films production budget was $14 million, and it became a hit sensation and grossed over $463 million at the global box office. Decades later, it was adapted into a musical and premiered in Chicago in 2018.
Pretty Woman: The Musical is now touring across the country in 32 cities, and it arrived in Los Angeles at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood under Broadway in Hollywood. We had the chance to check out the show on opening night, and it featured enjoyable characters and great performances while receiving a standing ovation at the end.
The stage musical is set in 1980s Hollywood, where a Hollywood sex worker, Vivian Ward , is learning the tips of the streets from her friend and roommate, Kit De Luca . She meets Edward Lewis, a wealthy and handsome businessman played by Adam Pascal , and her life gets turned into a Cinderella story.
Review: Chasing Shopworn Dreams In Pretty Woman: The Musical
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By Ben Brantley
No one should have had to step into that red dress again. Im talking about the long, strapless number that Julia Roberts wore in the 1990 film Pretty Woman, in a moment of pure, movie-magic apotheosis.
Let me refresh your memory of that occasion before I proceed to the less pleasant topic of Pretty Woman: The Musical, which opened on Thursday night at the Nederlander Theater without Ms. Roberts in the title role. In the movie, Ms. Robertss character, a prostitute named Vivian Ward, is going to her first opera with her date and client, Edward Lewis, a very rich and emotionally frozen businessman played by Richard Gere.
She materializes with coltish grace and freshness in said dress, and the smitten Mr. Gere presents her with a small box, containing an obscenely expensive necklace. He playfully snaps it open and closed, and Ms. Roberts erupts into a spontaneous shout of laughter that totally and improbably dispels the creepy transactional haze of the scene.
For many of us who saw Pretty Woman when it first opened, that was the precise instant when we realized that we had been watching a young actress turn into a singular, full-fledged movie star of a stripe we thought had ceased to exist. And I at least decided that I was going to sit through the rest of this unsavory movie, after all.
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Average Rating Based On 7 Reviews
- Highly Recommended
Chicago Tribune- Recommended
“…”Pretty Woman,” which stars Olivia Valli in the role made famous on screen by Julia Roberts, is a guilty pleasure show, a sexy nostalgia trip that goes down easy and would easily accommodate those who might previously have imbibed and chilled at a festive office gathering . On Tuesday, groups of women dominated the audience, with a good sprinkling of people dressed glamorously for a date night on the town. Everyone seemed to leave well pleased with what they had seen and heard.”
Chicago Sun Times- Somewhat Recommended
“…Mitchell creates plenty of visually pleasing dance numbers. “You and I” soars with operatic grace. The opening “Welcome to Hollywood” sets the scene with energy to spare. But he also stumbles at times. When Vivian and Edward have sex, they do so with a corps of gracefully twirling dancers surrounding them, providing a gauzy skim of flowy skirts whenever things threaten to go beyond first base. It plays like something out of a Barbara Cartland novel, as illustrated by Cosmo editorials.”
Stage and Cinema- Recommended
Splash Magazine- Highly Recommended
“…Starring Broadway superstar and Tony Award-nominee Adam Pascal as Edward Lewis and rising star Olivia Valli as Vivian Ward, PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL springs to life with a powerhouse creative team led by two-time Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell .”
Let’s Play at ChicagoNow- Recommended
Around The Town Chicago- Recommended
Review: Pretty Woman Segerstrom Center For The Arts
Welcome to Hollywood! Whats Your Dream?
Directed and choreographed as if on automatic pilot by two-time Tony Award®-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell , Pretty Woman: The Musical has a book by the original films director, Garry Marshall , and screenwriter, J.F. Lawton, and features a score by Grammy winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance with music supervision, arrangements and orchestrations by Will Van Dyke. Brought to you by lead producer Paula Wagner, its creators have hewed breathlessly close to the films story, gags and dialogue.
And what a story it is. Let me refresh your memory of that occasion. In the movie, Julia Robertss character, a prostitute named Vivian Ward, is going to her first opera with her date and client, Edward Lewis, played by Richard Gere, a seemingly soulless Wall Street takeover king who had earlier picked up the young hooker on Hollywood Boulevard and paid her $3,000 to be his companion for social occasions as well as in the hotel suite for a week. He introduces her to fine dining, fancy clothes, discreet makeup and the opera, while she transforms him from a cold fish into a free spirit.
PRETTY WOMAN will run through Sunday, July 17th Running time approximately 2 hours and 24 minutes Performances will be Tuesdays through Fridays at 7:30PM and Saturdays at 2:00PM and 7:30PM Sundays at 1:00PM and 6:30PM at Segerstrom Hall. Tickets can be purchased by visiting
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Pretty Woman: Show Information
Pretty Woman: The Musical is set in 1980s Hollywood and will be shown at the Dolby Theatre from June 15 to July 3, 2022. It will play Tuesday through Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are available starting at $39 and are available to purchase at www.BroadwayInHollywood.com or www.Ticketmaster.com. You can also get tickets by phone at 800-982-2782 or at the Dolby Theatre Box office located at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard.
Pretty Woman: The Musical is recommended for ages 13 and up. The run time is 2 hours and 30 minutes including intermission.
For those wanting to see the show in Orange County, the tour will also head to Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa from July 5 to July 17, 2022. Tickets are available at www.SCFTA.Org starting at $28.