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BWW Review: PRETTY WOMAN - THE MUSICAL at Providence Performing Arts Center

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How did we survive without theatre?

Pretty Woman

I'm not the biggest fan of romantic comedies-so predictable and just too much, well, drama you know? Probably why the movie studios have shied away from these over the past 18 months. Who needs more depression? But THE 1990 Pretty Woman has always been a rare feather in the Rom Com hat and the launching of the North American Tour of Pretty Woman: THE MUSICAL at the Providence Performing Arts Center proved no different.

Welcoming the 20th National Tour to open at PPAC since 2008, the near-capacity crowd-hell even me personally-couldn't wait to get theatre back in their lives. I guess PPAC could have gone with something a little deeper or one more impactful, but for many in the crowd, what they needed was exactly what they got.

Pretty Woman-THE MUSICAL was a spirited production with talent stretching from the main roles - Vivian Ward is Olivia Valli (Frankie Valli's granddaughter), to a stunning operatic voice in Amma Osei and the entire ensemble.

Leading man Edward Lewis is performed by Adam Pascal who played Broadway's original Roger Davis in RENT and is more than a match - with his rock-and-roll trained voice - for the Bryan Adams (and Jim Vallance) soundtrack of gutsy songs. Pascal's haunting voice rocked as a combination of Adams and Mike Reno of Loverboy (and yes, I mean it) in songs like "Something About Her" and "Freedom".

Olivia Valli (who played her own grandmother in the off-Broadway production of the JERSEY BOYS) - is the perfect combination of beauty, grit and smarts for this role. Remember that red dress scene made famous by Julia Roberts in the movie? She was perfect for this role, and her voice was fantastic in songs like "Anywhere But Here" and "I Can't Go Back."

Rounding out the top of the cast includes Jessica Crouch, who played Kit De Luca, a veteran of the Broadway Pretty Woman-THE MUSICAL; Kyle Taylor Parker, who played Happy Man and other scene-stealing roles and starred in Broadway's KINKY BOOTS and Matthew Stocke, who also played in Broadway's Pretty Woman-THE MUSICAL- as Ed's dickhead attorney who you just can't stop hating.

The origin story behind the creation of the musical, first penned by Happy Days creator Gary Marshall(and J.F. Lawton), who also wrote the original movie, is a great one with Marshall's wife Barbara, a lover of Broadway musicals, pushing her husband to create the musical behind his 1990 hit film. Much like the impact Vivian had on changing Ed's life, Barbara had a similar impact in pushing her husband to do the musical side of Pretty Woman, which took some time but eventually, like all good husbands, he came around. Marshall passed away a few while the show was still in development in 2016 but this musical remains something of a love letter to his wife, and also, to the world. And we so needed this now.

Photo Credit: Adam Pascal and Olivia Valli in Pretty Woman: The Musical by Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade.

How To Get Tickets

PRETTY WOMAN-THE MUSICAL runs through October 16th. For tickets go to Providence Performing Arts Center (ppacri.org)

Patrons must show proof of full vaccination or negative COVID-19 test and masks must be worn in the theatre at all times, despite your vaccination status.


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