Pretty Woman The Musical

Pretty Woman The Musical • April 2, 2024 • Eccles Theater

Reviewed by Kevin Rolfe

Photos by: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade. Provided by Broadway at the Eccles

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

I have to admit, I totally forgot that the 1990 film Pretty Woman was adapted for the stage.  Pretty Woman The Musical appeared on Broadway in 2018 and it wasn’t until the Broadway at the Eccles announced their 2023/2024 Season that I remembered it existed.  Since its Eccles Theater stop was announced, I have been curious to see how the show worked in musical form.  On Tuesday, April 2, I found out. 

Pretty Woman The Musical has everything needed for a successful production.  Highly acclaimed director and choreographer, check.  Jerry Mitchell has choreographed big-time shows like Hairspray, Legally Blond, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and The Full Monty and directed Kinky Boots (choreography also) and On Your Feet.  Well-known songwriters, check. 

Bryan Adams (yep that Bryan Adams) and Jim Vallance have written some of the most recognized songs of all time.  Pretty Woman The Musical would be their first time writing for musical theater.  Well-known book writers, check.  You don’t get much bigger than the late great Gary Marshall.  Writing for shows as far back as I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show, Marshall has written some of the most beloved television shows and movies in history. Joined by J. F. Lawton, a respected screenwriter in his own right, the book has some all-star power.  Gary Marshall passed away before the show was completed.

The cast of Pretty Woman The Musical is given the unenviable task of getting the audience to buy into their interpretation of these characters and try to forget the memorable performances in the movie.  Vivian Ward is one of Julia Roberts’ most iconic roles.  Ellie Baker did a great job of not trying to mimic Roberts.  That would have been a disaster.  It’s simply impossible to portray the role exactly like Julia so I liked that Ellie gave the character her own spin.  It did take me longer than I wanted to get in the zone of this production and forget the movie.  But eventually, for the most part, I did get there. 

Chase Wolfe did an admirable job of portraying Edward Lewis.  His powerful singing voice drew the audience to him and I overheard audience members talking during intermission hoping for more songs from him in the second act.  They got their wish.  

Adam Du Plessis stole the show as Happy Man. The Eccles Theater audience was delighted by his performance.  He appeared in multiple scenes as different characters within those scenes and each time he’d show his face, the audience would cheer or laugh.  Mr. Thompson, the hotel manager was Du Plessis’s best character.  At first leery of Elie Baker then evolving to be her biggest support was the journey we all went on through him.  He was funny, heartfelt, and probably got the biggest ovation at the end of the evening. Some of the biggest highlights of the show were when Adam Du Plessis was paired with Connor Kabat as Giulio the bellhop. Most of Kabat’s scenes were met with large laughter.  I think without his and Du Plessis’ performances this show would have fallen flat comedically.   

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

Memorable scenes from the movie, like Elie being snubbed by women at the Rodeo Drive store only to burn them later didn’t have the same impact as the movie.  The scene where Edward snaps the jewelry box before Vivian can pick up the necklace which makes Vivian laugh, was valiantly attempted but impossible to avoid recalling Julia Roberts’ well-known laugh in that scene.  I think those moments were just going to be too difficult to avoid comparison.   I tried hard not to compare but I just couldn’t do it.  

Overall, Pretty Woman The Musical is an entertaining production.  It falls short of other Pygmalian-type stage productions like My Fair Lady or even Once Upon A Mattress.  I think the familiarity with the movie both helps and hurts this musical.  That being said, it’s a good time and while it’s not the best show to have come to Eccles Theater, it’s still a fun night out of theater with a very talented cast.

Pretty Woman plays Eccles Theater until April 7. For ticket information, including how to get $50 Student Tickets, click here.

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