Jessie Davidson in Pretty Woman
oto: Broadway Across Canada

Broadway Across Canada

Pretty Woman: The Musical
Book by Garry Marshall & J.F. Lawton, Music & Lyrics by Bryan Adams & Jim Valance

When & Where March 29 to April 2, 2023 at 8pm; matinees at 2pm| Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 630 Hamilton Street

Director & Choreographer Jerry Mitchell Music Director Daniel Klintworth Music Coordinator Michael Kellar & Michael Aarons Set Design David Rockwell Costume Design Gregg Barnes Sound Design John Shivers Lighting Design Kenneth Posner & Philip Rosenberg Production Stage Manager Kelsey Tippins

Reviewer John Jane

Pretty Woman: The Musical is, as one would expect, a musical theatre adaptation of Garry Marshall’s 1990 romantic comedy that starred Richard Gere as the out-of-town billionaire and Julia Roberts as a working girl on Hollywood Boulevard. So, how does it compare to the original?

Well, you didn’t get to hear Gere as Edward or Roberts as Vivian sing in the film version, but while we don’t get the fancy cars, in many aspects, the stage version stays pretty faithful to what audiences saw on the screen. The film's storyline translates well to the stage. Also, some of those clichéd scenes metaphase naturally to the stage; for example: the one where the hotel manager lays down some ground rules for Vivian along with a few helpful lessons in etiquette and Edward and Vivian’s famed shopping expedition on Rodeo Drive.

Jessie Davidson & Adam Pascal
Photo: Broadway Across Canada

Gregg Barnes’ clothing which includes Vivian’s mini skirt and thigh-high boots and the iconic red dress that she wears to the opera are appropriated directly from the film. Notwithstanding the necessary duplicity, no effort appears to be spared with the large ensemble cast’s costumes. Likewise for David Rockwell’s scenic designs; the seamless switch between hotel lobby and Edward’s penthouse suite is cleverly executed.

One of Vancouver’s famous sons and his long time collaborator Jim Valance wrote all sixteen songs that range from poignant ballads like “Freedom” and strong melodies like “Anywhere but Here” to robust rock songs like “I can’t go back.”Roy Orbison's classic rock song "Oh Pretty Woman" does find its way into the show, by way of a well orchestrated rendition by the entire cast that struck a chord with the audience.

The vivacious Jessie Davidson, who has a passing resemblance to Julia Roberts and veteran stage actor, New Yorker Adam Pascal are stellar in the roles of the principal characters. The much younger Davidson demonstrates a penchant for comic timing as well as an amazing voice. Pascal doesn’t really look like Richard Gere, but has a natural timbre that serves the show well in “Freedom” – perhaps the best song in the show.

Among the supporting cast, Matthew Stocke has arguably the toughest role as Edward’s avaricious assistant. He takes on the only adverse character in the show, made famous in the film by everyone’s favourite sidekick Jason Alexander. Jessica Crouch threatens to steal every scene she is in as Vivian’s best friend Kit de Luca.

In spite of the audience knowing that the star-crossed couple live out the fairy tale ending, Pretty Woman: The Musical is a satisfying escape for two hours and a lot of fun en route.

© 2023 John Jane