Have you seen those shows that you watch and say, that would be better as a musical? It doesn’t happen often, but Pretty Woman The Musical, which is based on the major motion picture, is one of those shows. It doesn’t hurt that the music and lyrics are written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. The storyline is pretty much the same as the movie, with a couple adaptations, but the music and lyrics really bring the production to life. A great cast with strong voices, including a few who can sing opera and compelling choreography, Broadway Across Canada’s Pretty Woman The Musical walks the line between corny and cute, and just manages to be charming enough to win everyone over.
The original movie features Julia Roberts as a Hollywood prostitute Vivian Ward and Richard Gere as Edward Lewis, the wealthy businessman who saves her. The memorable scenes are still present in this production (like when Vivian goes back to the shop that wouldn’t sell clothes to her) and they are just as charming onstage. Jessie Davidson’s Vivian Ward is brash and has a big voice. Her ability to carry a note without taking a breath is captivating. Adam Pascal as Edward Lewis is a good match to Davidson, but his voice has a bit of a country twang that is distracting. The age difference between the couple seems to be a bit more than is comfortable too. Vivian’s friend Kit De Luca (Jessica Crouch) is sassy and blunt while the narrator of the story, Happy Man (Travis Ward-Osborne) is generous and kind as the hotel owner and a great addition as the musical narrator on Hollywood Boulevard. Also creating levity in the production is a hotel staff member, played by Trent Soyster, who displays a lot of physical comedy on stage. He steals most scenes he is in and is a great comedic partner to Ward-Osborne. Edward’s lawyer, Philip Stuckey (Matthew Stocke) is solid as the slimy stereotype of the production.
The scenic design by David Rockwell does a great job of changing locations with a few key pieces that drop in and out on stage. There is a bench and balcony that put the narrative on Hollywood Boulevard, while an elegant doorway depicts the entrance of the hotel, and a bed, sofa, armoire and piano create the penthouse suite. It’s all pretty minimalist, but is enough for the audience to know exactly where we are in the story. Greg Barnes’ costume design is very similar to the costumes in the movie, down to the shorts and top that Julia Roberts wore in the first few scenes. The costuming in the opera scenes are beautiful, and Kenneth Posner and Philip S. Rosenberg’s lighting design draws attention to the details in the set and costumes and spotlights the musical solos nicely.
Pretty Woman The Musical is so much better as a musical. It allows the characters more depth and their situations can be explored with more details through the music. The live orchestra is a really nice touch, especially paired with the strong voices of the cast.
This production has just enough fluffy romantic content paired with a talented cast who can play up the depth of character and musical numbers. It’s a whole lot of romantic fun.
Broadway Across Canada’s Pretty Woman The Musical runs until April 9th. Tickets are available online.
Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade