PRETTY WOMAN Prettier than NYC critics let on

The film PRETTY WOMAN, based on the song by Roy Orbison, which was originally intended to be a tale of class and prostitution but was reimagined as a romantic comedy, opened up to both the enjoyment of critics and the public. It always gets a sizable audience when it airs on TV.

Unfortunately, PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL, a version of which is now on stage at the Connor Palace as part of the Key Bank Broadway series, opened to universally negative reviews.

Based on the film’s success, before it officially opened, the 2018 Broadway previews broke the Nederlander Theater box office record for a week of eight performances.

Following the release of critics, generally calling Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance’s score “enjoyable but bland”, and “the plot in need of updating” and the “genre dynamics of the film’s plot having aged badly” , the series limped off, running 27 previews and 420 regular performances.

The book by Garry Marshall and JF Lawton tells the story of “Vivian Ward, a free-spirited Hollywood prostitute who lives with her best friend and sarcastic roommate, Kit De Luca. Vivian is hired by Edward Lewis, a handsome ‘rich businessman, to be his escort for several business and social functions.’ The question, of course, is whether this is going to be a Cinderella story where the unlikely duo becomes a real-life “happily ever after” tale.

The touring company released a surprise coupe on its opening night.

Playing with a handful of substitutes, due to medical issues, the audience, who lukewarmly applauded “Welcome to Hollywood”, a lackluster curtain-raiser, got heated when the charming Olivia Valli, in the role of Vivian interpreted by Julia Roberts , sang , “Any Where but Here”, “I want a song” from the show, the purpose of which is to clarify the desires of the main character and to put the plot on the right track. Olivia doesn’t want to be a prostitute, but seems to have no options. It is similar in plot development to “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” from MY FAIR LADY, where Eliza tells us about her desire to own a flower shop and stop selling flowers on the street.

Eliza is cared for by Henry Higgins and Vivian bonds with Edward Lewis and the plot and the woman’s wishes are fulfilled.

Audience production “hey, this is better than I expected” continued with comedic characters including Kit De Luca (a lovely Jessica Crouch), Nico DeJuses (a stand-in for the role of Guilio , a hotel hunter, almost stole the show with his danceable, comedic timing), and Happy Man/Hotel Manager (the dynamic Kyle Taylor Parker, who appeared on Broadway as co-frontman of KINKY BOOTS) rode on the scene.

DeLuca gave us the image of a fun-loving sex worker, DeJuses is a hunk-sized charmer, and Parker delighted in “On a Night Like Tonight,” “Don’t Forget to Dance,” and “Never Give Up on a Dream”. “

When handsome and muscular Chris Manuel replaced Adam Pascal of RENT fame as Edward, sang the complaining “Something About Her”, then sang “Freedom”, the applause was prolonged and the audience was on their way. to experience a satisfying evening of musical theatre.

Don’t leave until the curtain rolls or you’ll miss the joint cast and audience singing, dancing, swaying, and clapping version of “Pretty Woman,” the film’s theme song, which isn’t part of the score. musical comedy.

Capsule judgment: PRETTY WOMAN is not a great musical. It’s definitely not CHORUS LINE, or MY FAIR LADY, or WEST SIDE STORY, but this production, even with the obvious script and poor score, is worth watching. The audience, after delivering the required “we are nice people of Cleveland and give almost all productions a standing ovation”, came away with a very positive chatter!

How to get tickets

PRETTY WOMAN THE MUSICAL runs at Connor Palace until March 27. For tickets, go to 216-640-8800 or go online for https://www.playhousesquare.org/events/detail/pretty-woman

Attention: Although you no longer have to present proof of Covid vaccine, this production requires that people seated in the first two rows of the lower level (Dress Circle A & B, rows D & E) wear a mask during each representation.

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