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Pretty Woman: The Musical makes a gorgeous debut in Detroit

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Feb. 22, 2024
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Feb. 22, 2024 04:01

An Op-Ed by CBS News Detroit producer Aaron Amos

(CBS DETROIT) - A delightful and fun tribute to the original movie with unique and creative changes to make this a fresh take on a timeless romantic comedy.

"Pretty Woman: The Musical"    Broadway in Detroit

"Pretty Woman: The Musical" makes a grand entrance in Detroit, dazzling audiences with its vibrant adaptation of the beloved classic. Initially skeptical, I found the live performance to surpass any expectations set by promotional material.

Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance's original score serves as the musical's Lotus Esprit SE, smoothly navigating us through the enchanting narrative and picturesque scenes.

Casting choices, though unexpected in some respects, ultimately prove inspiring. Ellie Baker's portrayal of Vivian captures the character's essence with a blend of power and vulnerability, akin to Julia Roberts' iconic performance. Chase Wolfe embodies Edward Lewis with sophistication and charm, doing justice to Richard Gere's portrayal. Adam Du Plessis seamlessly transitions between various supporting characters, showcasing his versatility.

Rae Davenport's interpretation of Kit De Luca injects the production with freshness, avoiding imitation and adding depth to the narrative.

"Pretty Woman: The Musical"    Broadway in Detroit

Favorite moments from the movie are flawlessly incorporated and delivered with precision and finesse. Unexpected additions enhance the familiar story, though some substitutions may divide fans. For example, I personally love the dinner etiquette lesson in the film. You will not experience that with the stage play - however, I don't think many will complain about the switch. 

While "Pretty Woman: The Musical" offers a delightful and entertaining experience overall, it's not without its weaknesses. Some of these stem from the character choices made for David Morse, played by Kerry D'Jovanni. Morse's portrayal, while competent, lacks any further interest from the audience. This is probably due to some lines being delivered so quickly and without enunciation - that the context is missed unless you already know the story.

Similarly, the character of Stuckey, played by Mikey Marmann, falls short of evoking the same level of disdain as the original Philip. While Marmann delivers a solid performance, the character fails to leave a lasting impression, missing the opportunity to elicit the same level of reaction from the audience as his counterpart, Edward - in the film.

However, the portrayal of Vivian's snort occasionally evokes comparisons to Sandra Bullock's character in "Miss Congeniality," which, while endearing, occasionally detracts from the charm of "Pretty Woman."

"Pretty Woman: The Musical"    Broadway in Detroit

Despite these shortcomings, "Pretty Woman: The Musical" remains a captivating and enjoyable production, thanks to its talented cast, engaging storytelling, and memorable score. While certain character portrayals may not fully live up to expectations, the overall experience is still one that fans of the original film will appreciate and enjoy.

"Pretty Woman: The Musical" delivers an enchanting and entertaining experience, paying homage to the original while carving its own path on stage. With dazzling performances, a captivating score, and inventive storytelling, this production is a must-see for fans old and new.

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