(Cover Photo: Bethany McDonald, Ellie Baker and Taylor M. Sheppard in a "HUGE" moment from "PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL" now playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through November 12, 2023. The tour will be back in 2024 at the Emerson Colonial in Boston. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade)
By Kevin T. Baldwin
“You and I are such similar creatures Vivian. We both screw people for money."
- ("Edward') / Garry Marshall and J.F. Lawton
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: Ellie Baker as “Vivian Ward”; Chase Wolfe as “Edward Lewis”; Rae Davenport as “Kit De Luca”; Adam Du Plessis as “Happy Man”; Liam Searcy as “Philip Stuckey”; Kerry D'Jovanni as “Ensemble/David Morse”; Steven Gagliano as “Ensemble/Alfredo”; Joshua Kring as “Giulio”; Robert Miller as “Swing/Assistant Dance Captain”; Taylor M. Sheppard as “Scarlett/Ensemble”; Elana Valastro as “Dance Captain/ Swing”; Ensemble: Matthew Blum, Brianna Clark, Vincent Diperi, Lauren Esser, Charlie Fusari, Christian Maxwell Henry, Alexandra Kinsley, Bethany McDonald, Hank Santos, Devyn Trondson, Sarah Wang 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)
November 10, 2023 through November 12, 2023
(Contact Box Office for Exact Times)
Presented at the HANOVER THEATRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester.
For More Information:
877-571-SHOW (7469) firstname.lastname@example.org
COVID 19 PROTOCOLS
Contact Venue for Most Updated COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Information.
With the days getting shorter and with darkness falling so quickly these days, "PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL" is just the show to help brighten things up just a little and thank goodness for that.
In this month of Thanksgiving there is a lot to be thankful for in this musical and you might even want a second helping of it.
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 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.
(Photo: Ellie Baker as "Vivian" in a scene from "PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL" now playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through November 12, 2023. The tour will be back in 2024 at the Emerson Colonial in Boston. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade)
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.
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 (Rae Davenport), her sarcastic wisecracking friend and roommate and the one who taught Vivian the “tricks of the trade.”
Much of Vivian's backstory isn't revealed until much later in the show giving her an added component of mystery.
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.
Where this arrangement 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....no, no-no-no-no - nope! - NOT going to say that...let's, instead, just say "to end well."
The musical, directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, debuted in Chicago in 2018 then hit Broadway later that year where the show ran for 27 previews and 420 regular performances.
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.
(Photo: Bethany McDonald, Ellie Baker and Taylor M. Sheppard share in a well-known "HUGE" moment from "PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL" playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through November 12, 2023. The tour will be back in 2024 at the Emerson Colonial in Boston. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade)
Yet, the big question is: does this musical adaptation, amidst a sea of other disastrous musical stage adaptations of hit movies, succeed or fail?
It succeeds if you have never seen the 1990 movie.
It succeeds if you enjoy a lot of great original songs and wonderfully creative choreography executed by a vibrant, energetic and exceptionally talented 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Supplementing the phenomenal performances by Baker and Wolfe are Davenport as "Kit" - a powerhouse singer who nails any song she sings on stage - and the ineffably talented Adam Du Plessis who, serving as the show's narrator character "Happy Man," is incredibly adept at the scene stealing charm required by his character who morphs into other characters throughout the show.
Together, Kit and Happy Man, 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.”
(Photo: Rae Davenport as "Kit De Luca" sings the Bryan Adams-penned opener, “Welcome to Hollywood” with the CAST of "PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL" now playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through November 12, 2023. The tour will be back in 2024 at the Emerson Colonial in Boston. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade)
Aiding in many of the show's hilarious moments of non-verbal physical comedy (supplemented by some incredible dancing) is Joshua Kring as the fabulously funny character of "Giulio."
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 "Something About Her" sung by Wolfe, Act Two's "This Is My Life" sung by Baker and their Act One duet closer, "You're Beautiful."
Wolfe also brings his "A game" to the wonderfully pensive song, "Freedom."
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 managed to deliver some great tunes in this show, including the great Kit number “Rodeo Drive” a real belter of a rocker.
(Photo: The CAST of "PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL" now playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through November 12, 2023. The tour will be back in 2024 at the Emerson Colonial in Boston. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade)
"PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL" continues at the Hanover Theatre until November 12th 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.
Up next in the Hanover Broadway series, in January, comes the fellow whose name you need to call out three times in order for him to appear...or you could just buy a ticket to see "BEETLEJUICE THE MUSICAL."
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)
ABOUT THE SHOW
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.
Please contact the Hanover box office at 877-571-SHOW (7469) for more information.
Worcester Center for Performing Arts is a registered not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, which owns and operates The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
2 Southbridge Street
Worcester, MA. 01608