Theater review “Pretty Woman: The Musical”

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Segerstrom Center for the Arts – PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL – Adam Pascal and Olivia Valli – Credit: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

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“Pretty Woman: The Musical” closely follows the story beats of the original 1990 film material. Many famous moments and memorable dialogue are played live on stage. Adult audiences will have a better time if they already experience this popular romantic comedy from Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.

The first act focuses a lot on dance and choreography. And in search of the Hollywood dream to make it come true. The colors and set design distract from the adult beginnings of the story. Another element that perpetuates the fantasy dream ideology is the Happy Man character filling small roles throughout the series. From selling cards to celebrity homes, running a hotel, and matching expensive outfits. The hunter has sporadic bursts of dancing on the spur of a moment. A walk down “Rodeo Drive” becomes a fashion show. The second act focused more on the emotional grip of the characters. The showdown between their feelings based on their actions and their occupation.

Not all musical numbers are winners. But those are worth the time it takes to reach them. I really enjoyed “Welcome to Hollywood”, “Something About Her”, “Freedom”, “You and I” and “I Can’t Go Back”. I could easily listen to these song snippets all day.

“Welcome to Hollywood” proclaims itself as the land of dreams waiting to be realized. The only way to make those dreams come true is to keep believing in them, even if they don’t come true. Dreaming keeps the spirit alive.

“Freedom” establishes the glamorous life Edward has built for himself still leaves him unknowingly empty. What he thought would make him happy, lots of money, doesn’t really give him the kind of freedom he thought he had. The emotional takes a look at the physical achievements.

“You and Me” is perhaps the only scene that actually improves the film version. A musical segment from a non-musical film that turned into a musical segment with the main character watching and revealing himself to the audience. The live opera bars received the loudest applause for good reason.

“I Can’t Go Back” is undoubtedly Viven’s anthem. It is her empowerment statement that she controls her thoughts and actions. Adapting from your past, fighting for the future, while navigating the present.

A pretty woman
Segerstrom Center for the Arts – PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL – The Company of Pretty Woman: The Musical – Credit: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

“Pretty Woman: The Musical” shows off the right curves for the soft rock gig you’ll want to spend the evening with. The songs are well produced and performed like a rock concert. But only a few will have an everlasting effect that can connect with audiences on a personal level. These shining gems shine and earn their stamina in the classic story of overcoming self-doubt and defying norms. Musical and lyrical contributions by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. Bringing in the soft rock flair of the late 80s and early 90s that helps set the tone for the show.

The stunning cast is made up of Broadway’s best and brightest when it comes to powerful rock vocals. Olivia Valli (Wicked, Jersey Boys) as Vivian Ward. Adam Pascal (RENT, Chicago) as Edward Lewis. Jessica Crouch (We Will Rock You) as Kit De Luca. Kyle Taylor Parker (Kinky Boots, NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar LIVE) as Happy Man. Matthew Stocke as Philip Stuckey.

Garry Marshall directed the original 1990 film and eventually brought his passion for live theater into writing the book for the stage musical adaptation alongside original screenwriter JF Lawton.

Pretty Woman: The Musical

On show until July 17, 2022 at Segerstrom Arts Center. Tuesday to Friday at 7:30 p.m. Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

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