"Pretty Woman - the Musical" - Emerson Colonial Theatre (Boston, MA.) - REVIEW

(Cover Photo: The CAST of  "PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL" now playing at the Emerson Colonial Theatre in Boston, MA. through March 3, 2024. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade)

By Kevin T. Baldwin

METRMAG Reviewer

# 774-242-6724

“Hopes and dreams are what this town is made of. So give it a shot, you got nothing to be afraid of." 

("Welcome to Hollywood') / Garry Marshall and J.F. Lawton   

The Emerson Colonial Theatre



Music & Lyrics by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance   

Book by Garry Marshall and J.F. Lawton  

Directed and Choreographed by Jerry Mitchell 

Will Van Dyke - Music Supervision, Arrangements and Orchestrations;  

Shane Ffrench - Music Director

Cast Includes: Cast Includes:  Ellie Baker as “Vivian Ward,” Chase Wolfe as “Edward Lewis,” Rae Davenport as “Kit De Luca,” Adam Du Plessis as “Happy Man,” Mikey Marmann as “Philip Stuckey,” Kerry D’jovanni as “Ensemble/David Morse,” Steven Gagliano as “Ensemble/Alfredo,” Connor Kabat as “Ensemble/Giulio,” Robert Miller as “Swing/Assistant Dance Captain,” Taylor M. Sheppard as “Scarlett/Ensemble,” Elana Valastro as “Dance Captain/ Swing,” Sarah Wang as “Ensemble/ Violetta.”  Ensemble: Matthew Blum, Brianna Clark, Lauren Esser, Charlie Fusari, Matt Henningsen, Christian Maxwell Henry, Alexandra Kinsley, Bethany McDonald, Blaise Rossmann, Devyn Trondson   Swing: Justin Glass, Channing Weir. 

(NOTE: Information obtained from tour website subject to change)  

Additional Creative Team:

DB Bonds - Direction Recreation; Rusty Mowery - Choreography Recreation; David Rockwell - Original Scenic Design; Christine Peters - Tour Scenic Design; Gregg Barnes - Costume Design; Kenneth Posner - Lighting Design; Philip Rosenberg - Lighting Designer; John Shivers - Sound Design; Josh Marquette - Hair Design; Fiona Mifsud - Makeup Design; Pearson Casting CSA CDG CDA - Casting; Randy Cohen - Keyboard Programmer; Molly Goodwin - Production Stage Manager; Nate Coffey - Assistant Stage Manager; Allied Global Marketing - Tour Marketing & Press; Dave Burch - Technical Director; Gregg Damanti - Production Manager.

(NOTE: Information obtained from tour website subject to change)  


February 27, 2024 through March 3, 2024

(Contact Box Office for Exact Times)

EMERSON COLONIAL THEATRE, 106 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116


By phone # 888-616-0272 

Box Office Hours: Monday-Friday: 9am - 8pm (EST); Saturday-Sunday: 10am - 8pm (EST) 

THE EMERSON COLONIAL THEATRE Box Office is located at 106 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

THE EMERSON COLONIAL THEATRE website is the official source for tickets:



Contact Venue for Most Updated COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Information.

The current tour of the Bryan Adams-scored musical "PRETTY WOMAN" is coming down the street (by way of Hollywood Boulevard), gliding into the Emerson Colonial Theatre in Boston for a fabulous limited engagement. 

Make no mistake: this is a fun musical and one absolutely worthy of the standing ovation it received after its opening night performance.

To be clear from the outset - this is NOT a Bryan Adams "jukebox musical" so don't come see this show expecting to hear “Cuts Like a Knife” or “Straight From the Heart” (although, to be fair, wouldn't that have been cool? Come on, Mr. Adams - it's your time). 

Instead, along with partner Jim Vallance, Adams has provided a plethora of enjoyable songs which help drive home the highly regarded story. 

"PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL" is based on the massive 1990 hit film written by J. F. Lawton and directed by the legendary Garry Marshall

The film starred Richard Gere and elevated actress Julia Roberts to superstar status. 

The musical, directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, debuted in Chicago in 2018 then hit Broadway later that year. 

On August 2, 2018, while the show was still in previews, the performance was dedicated to Garry Marshall (who had passed in 2016). 

That performance was attended by Marshall’s family and actress Julia Roberts, who played Vivian in the original film. 

A seat at the theatre was also dedicated in Marshall’s honor. The production closed in 2019 after 27 previews and 420 regular performances.

The unusual story construct, as developed by Marshall and Lawton, combines plot elements from "My Fair Lady" and "Cinderella" (with, perhaps, a smidgen taken from "Oliver"), and concerns this good natured L.A. prostitute (aka the "hooker with a heart of gold") who is presented with an unusual financial arrangement by one of her "johns" to pass herself off as his elegant girlfriend. 

On all technical levels the show is a glorious, visceral attack - from its fabulous sets to bright, colorful costumes to a multitude of well-calculated, specialized lighting effects.

However, at the opening night performance at the Emerson, there were a couple of noticeable issues with a very shaky drop and an uncooperative smoke machine which was going off at odd times. 

None of this detracted from the overall performance, however, thanks to a dynamite cast and ensemble.

The story centers around Vivian Ward (on this latest tour played by Ellie Baker). 

Vivian is an unfettered, independent Hollywood prostitute who lives with Kit (played at the opening night performance by Channing Weir), her sarcastic wisecracking friend and roommate and the one who taught Vivian the “tricks of the trade.” 

Weir is, quite simply, a phenomenal vocalist and totally embodies the exuberance required for the "Kit" character.

For Baker, much of Vivian's backstory isn't revealed until much later in the show giving her character an added element of mystery. 

Baker not only belts out some great tunes such as "Anywhere But Here" and "I Can't Go Back," she also brings the funny in a fine comedic portrayal of Vivian.

Vivian is hired by wealthy businessman Edward Lewis (Chase Wolfe), a dashing corporate executive, to be his escort for a night...then a few days...and then, ultimately, their business relationship blossoms into a true romance. 

Wolfe, with handsome, chiseled features, looks less like a business tycoon and more like a stand-in for "Thor's" Chris Hemsworth.

However, it soon becomes apparent that Hemsworth could never pull off the songs as magnificently as Wolfe does as how well he renders them throughout the musical, especially in numbers such as "Something About Her" and "Freedom." 

In fact, Wolfe proves, in his exceptional performance, that the Bryan Adams songs composed for the male characters in this show are (with exceptions) slightly better than some of his tunes written for the female characters.

(Photo: Ellie Baker as "Vivian" in a scene from "PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL" now playing at the Emerson Colonial Theatre in Boston, MA. through March 3, 2024. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade)

Where the business arrangement between Vivian and Edward either floats or sinks presents us with the musical's best "fish out of water" moments - and we find ourselves rooting for this weirdly intriguing love story to have a...well, to be successful.

Together, Baker and Wolfe (I feel like I'm describing characters from "Into the Woods") have exceptional chemistry and their on stage affection for one another really shows through in numbers such as Act Two's "This Is My Life" sung by Baker and their Act One duet, "You're Beautiful." 

Supplementing the phenomenal performances by Baker and Wolfe is the ineffably talented Adam Du Plessis who serves as our host and tourguide, the "Happy Man." 

Adam Du Plessis, incredibly adept at the scene stealing charm required by his character, morphs into multiple characters throughout the show with great ease. 

Together, Weir and Du Plessis, along with the supporting Ensemble, bring the show to life on stage from the clever opener, “Welcome to Hollywood, then collectively burn up the stage during the second act's, “Never Give Up on a Dream. 

The show admirably attempts neither to glorify nor condemn those who, under their own, particular set of circumstances, have taken to a career of prostitution. 

It only displays circumstances as being what they are. 

Contributing to the numerous funny scenes is the bellman Giulio (Connor Kabat), providing many of the show's non-verbal physical comedy (supplemented by some incredible dancing).

Kabat, with Weir and Baker, adds an animated, effervescent charm to the song, "Luckiest Girl in the World." and later, with Du Plessis (supported by a delightful dance ensemble), executes some of the show's most amusing choreography in the number, "On a Night Like Tonight."

(Photo: The CAST of  "PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL" now playing at the Emerson Colonial Theatre in Boston, MA. through March 3, 2024. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade)

As mentioned, this is not a Bryan Adams "jukebox musical" but the "flavor" of Bryan Adams is all over this musical's score, and one song, in particular, “You and I, - a shared number sung by Chase, Steven Gagliano and Sarah Wang - is eerily similar to the Adams' megahit, "Heaven." 

It is somewhat surprising that "PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL" wasn’t promoted more as a “Bryan Adams musical” but that might have led to the above-mentioned potential for confusion of expectations. 

Purportedly, the iconic 80s rocker (also known for hits such as “Summer of '69" and “Everything I Do, I Do for You”) was frustrated by the musical creative process. 

However, he still ultimately managed to deliver some great tunes in this show, including the great Kit number “Rodeo Drive” a real belter of a rocker.

Yet, the big question is: does THIS musical adaptation, amidst a sea of other disastrous musical stage adaptations of hit movies, succeed or fail? That is quite subjective.

It succeeds if you have NEVER seen the 1990 movie. 

It succeeds if you enjoy an original score supplemented by wonderfully creative choreography (by director Jerry Mitchell and recreated by Rusty Mowery) executed by a vibrant, energetic and exceptionally talented tour cast. 

It might seem to "fail" if you DID see the film in cinemas in 1990 or at any point on cable or streaming channels over the past 33 years (yikes!) and you have some high expectations that could never, EVER be met by ANY stage adaptation, especially in the form of a musical. 

However, if you CAN observe the musical with fresh eyes and ears, then there is a hell of a lot to enjoy about this show, especially in the writing, the score and the performances. 

So, sit back and enjoy. 

Mainly, "PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL" succeeds by carrying forth the characters and story developed by Lawton and Marshall - principal characters and supporting characters that, almost from the moment they appear, we come to care about and really become invested in what happens to them.   

"PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL" continues at the Emerson Colonial Theatre until March 3rd and, to personally lift a lyric from the late, great Mr. Orbison, it is a musical that "gave its smile to me." 

Speaking of Roy Orbison - will people hear his iconic song in the show which shares its title? 

Well, you'll just have to see the show in order to find out.

The complete tour schedule can be viewed at: https://tour.prettywomanthemusical.com/

Approximately two hours, 30 minutes with one intermission 

Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) 




Ready to fall in love all over again?

After an incredible record-breaking run on Broadway, Audience Choice Award winner "PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL" is coming to Massachusetts

Based on the 1990 film of the same name, "PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL" is a modern retelling of the Cinderella story. 

Vivian, a Hollywood prostitute is picked up on the street by Edward Lewis, a tough but lonely business mogul. 

Employed as his companion, Vivian is immersed into the elite Beverly Hill society, but she soon realizes that she is a fish out of water. 

She wants to make something of her life, but she must be true to herself along the way. 

During a week of romance, both Vivian and Edward embark on a journey of self-discovery and discover true love along the way. 

Edward is softened and transformed by Vivian’s joy of life and he comes to realize that he must change his priorities if he wants to hold on to what matters most. 

He rediscovers his moral compass and drops his brutal business methods, much to his money-grabbing lawyer’s chagrin. 

Edward and Vivian’s love transcends social divides and this independent Cinderella gets her Prince.

Experience this dazzlingly theatrical take on a love story for the ages. 

TICKETS available by phone # 888-616-0272 


In its storied history, THE EMERSON COLONIAL THEATRE has debuted such seminal Broadway shows as Anything GoesPorgy and BessOklahoma!Born YesterdayFolliesA Little Night MusicGrand Hotel and La Cage aux Folles, among others. Reviving a great theatrical tradition, Boston’s newly restored EMERSON COLONIAL THEATRE officially re-opened its doors in July 2018 with the pre-Broadway World Premiere of Moulin Rouge! The Musical. THE EMERSON COLONIAL THEATREwhich opened in 1900 with a production of Ben-Hur, is the oldest continuously operated theater in Boston; as well as being amongst the most magnificent, having retained most of its original period details. A theatre for the community, EMERSON COLONIAL THEATRE will once again contribute to the rich cultural landscape of Boston, with a new and varied program of Broadway shows, live music, comedy and events.


106 Boylston Street

Boston, MA 02116