Pretty Woman / our review
charming FUN Nostalgic
Dec 7th, 2018
Never Give Up on a Dream!
Never Give Up on a Dream!
Fun Fact: It was 28 years ago that Garry Marshall and J.F Lawton brought the film Pretty Woman into homes across the globe! Time flies!
Target Audience: Kids of the 90s who loved the film and anyone who loves a cute romantic comedy will enjoy this show.
Best Bit: Allison Blackwell (Violetta) is a beautiful gift to this musical - her operatic voice is angelic and I hope to see her shining on stage for many years to come!
Morning After Effect: A fun trip down memory lane.
Pretty Woman was one of those films from the 90s that everyone has seen at least a dozen times! The world fell in love with the magnetic Julia Roberts who played sex worker Vivian Ward, and of course the dreamy Richard Gere as aggressive businessman Edward Lewis. The screenplay was written by J.F Lawton and directed by Garry Marshall who join forces once again for this Broadway adaptation - turns out they always believed it would be suited for the stage! Together they created the Book and despite Marshall's passing in 2016 the company held true to the showbiz mantra "the show must go on" - with his blessing and belief in the production Marshall dedicated this love story to his wife of 53 years! No pressure for Samantha Barks and Andy Karl in the title roles!
Another big hitter from the 90s was Bryan Adams who has been brought onboard to write the music and lyrics for this new musical alongside long-term collaborator Jim Vallance. This is the first musical for Adams who has an incredibly successful career spanning over four-decades - there is no doubt that you can hear his unique voice injected into each song. Vallance has worked with Adams throughout his career as well as the renowned Joe Cocker, Tina Turner, Aerosmith, and Michael Bubl, to name a few. Songs, "Something About Her" and "You and I" hit all the right notes to melt your heart - giving you that gushy loved-up feeling you'd expect from this genre. Karl does well to mimic that husky Bryan Adams voice which is no easy task and at times he feels constrained. And then there's the rock 'n roll from Karl's real-life wife Orfeh (playing Kit De Luca), she sings "Rodeo Drive" and "Never Give Up", along with Eric Anderson who plays Happy Man/Mr. Thompson. Their task is to follow the formula and inject some playful upbeat vibes, and shake the cinematic pace to suit Broadway. They are both talented performers but the narrative lets them down. A special mention to Nico DeJesus making his Broadway debut as the delightful bellman. The audience enjoyed every moment he was on stage successfully hitting his comedic beats like a pro!
Samantha Barks has appeared on stage, screen and television and has a voice that can cross from Broadway to the charts. And let's not forget that she is a Manx actress with a flawless American accent making her Broadway debut. She has the toughest task of all - how do you fill Roberts'shoes?! Well, you don't. You have to create something new and hold on to a few favorites from the film to please the audience. Barks has the spunk and charm you'd expect and reveals her vulnerability. "Anywhere But Here" is sung beautifully by her at the top of the show in an effort to empower Vivian with the belief that she can elevate her own life and dream of success. Many people are offended by this story and think it's horrific to highlight the life of a sex worker - it's quite the contrary, these people exist in our society and deserve to have their stories told, correctly. Heck, it's the oldest profession! Of course, it's 2018 and there is an attempt to right the wrongs of the 90s but it doesn't always land well. Perhaps a few female collaborators in the writing could've helped complete Vivian's journey and taken away the pressure on Edward to carry the narrative. Nonetheless, this is a nostalgic treat and one can appreciate Pretty Woman as a story about two lost souls finding one another and feeling complete. It's a charming love story from a different perspective and a fun choice for date night or a night out with the girls!
View our show pages for more information about Pretty Woman, Nederlander Theater.