Included in a selection of beloved movies reimagined as musicals for the Broadway stage, “Pretty Woman: The Musical” is now on tour. You can catch the hit at the Straz Center in Tampa May 17-22, 2022. I was lucky to attend the touring production as a member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers.
Ironically, I saw the show just weeks after viewing “My Fair Lady” at the Straz Center, and it is hard not to compare the two “Cinderella-story” romances. Although set roughly 75 years apart – around 1912 and around 1988 – both shows lavish the audience in song, dance, beautiful costumes, and sparkling jewelry. Both feature a woman poised at a period of personal growth in the trusted hands of a man who takes her in. And both have themes of romance and couplehood.
I remember seeing the movie “Pretty Woman” in high school with a group of friends. Julia Roberts could both saunter and recoil in a way that brought out empathy from the audience. At the end of the film I was left with the thought, “I understand why he wants her, but why does she want him?”
The musical follows much of the same plot, and features clothing styles, famous lines and situations many remember and were waiting at the edge of their seats for. My favorite moment happened to be missing – when Edward (Richard Gere) catches Vivian (Julia Roberts) flossing her teeth. But many of the lines people were waiting for brought laughter and hollering from the Straz audience!
There were a few standout actors on stage who were not constantly in the spotlight and added a lot of extra fun to the show. Trent Soyster as bellhop Giulio was born to dance and brings comic relief. Amma Osei brings down the house as an opera diva. And Kyle Taylor Parker pops up everywhere unexpectedly like a fairy godfather – with song, dance, orchestral conduction and morals to guide the characters as well as the audience.
There were some weak parts I would tweak, and I didn’t leave humming any new tunes, but with treats from Garry Marshall, Jerry Mitchell, Bryan Adams and Adam Pascal throughout the night it was a pleasure following the familiar story.
What it comes down to is this: If you like the movie, or love a Cinderella-style tale, this is a show that will deliver both giggles and kisses. I enjoyed a fun girls night out at “Pretty Woman: The Musical.”
“If you love the movie, you’ll love the musical!” (BuzzFeed News).