Pretty Woman: The Musical Brings the 80’s to the Dolby

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There’s a lot to like about Pretty Woman: The Musical now playing at the Dolby, especially if you are a fan of the 1990 Garry Marshall film.

The musical follows the romcom closely often including verbatim dialogue and costumes straight from the hit movie. Originally, Pretty Woman debuted on Broadway in 2018 with mixed reviews. Garry Marshall and J.F. Lawton wrote the book and Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance provide the 90s inspired music and lyrics.

The Cinderella storyline follows prostitute Vivian Ward (the one weak link in the show, played by Olivia Valli, the granddaughter of singer Frankie Valli ) who millionaire Edward Lewis (played by the very talented Adam Pascal from RENT fame) picks up for a night which soon turns into an escort job for a week. I recognized Pascal’s voice immediately and his performances are one of the main reasons to see the musical. Unfortunately, Valli’s vocals fall short of the other performers and her acting seems forced and over the top.  Standout performances  are Jessica Crouch as Vivian’s wisecracking best friend Kit, who is exceptionally strong in ensemble numbers and her solo “Rodeo Drive.” Kyle Taylor Parker also stands out as both the Happy Man and Mr. Thompson, especially in the best dance number in the show when Mr. Thompson teaches Vivian to ballroom dance. Trent Soyster also manages to steal the show whenever he is on stage, with few lines as Giulio the bellhop but with lots of charisma. Amma Osei also has a short but memorable cameo as an opera singer.

Fans of the movie, and there were many who came in costumes from the film and were seated in our row, said they were looking forward to memorable moments from the film. Unfortunately that’s one of the things that doesn’t quite come together in the musical. The shopping scene “Big Mistake. Big. Huge.,” and the necklace scene fell  flat during our performance without much laughter or warm reactions from the audience.

The successful sets and lighting, by David Rockwell and Kenneth Posner/Philip S. Rosenberg take us back to the neon lights of Hollywood Boulevard, the glamour of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in the 1980s and a stunning opera backdrop.

“Pretty Woman: The Musical” is worth a trip literally and figuratively back to Hollywood Boulevard at the Dolby to enjoy Pascal’s moving vocals, some great dance numbers and sets, and a few supportive cast members that steal the show.

“Pretty Woman: The Musical” is playing at the Dolby Theater, 6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Tuesday – Saturday, 8pm, Saturday matinee 2pm, Sunday at 1pm and 6:30pm, through July 3.

Tickets are $39 to $175, at https://www.ticketmaster.com.

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Shaena Engle is a food, lifestyle and travel writer for a variety of publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Pasadena magazine, AOL, The Daily Meal, The San Diego Union Tribune and PokerPro magazine. She has interviewed top chefs including Lidia Bastianich, Michael Chiarello, Hubert Keller, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jose Andres, and many others. She has authored three books, The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Las Vegas (Globe Pequot Press), The Best Places to Kiss in Southern California (Beginning Press, a romantic travel guide) and Silver Linings: Triumphs of The Chronically Ill and Physically Challenged (Prometheus Books).  She is also an amateur magician and often writes on gambling, poker and magical happenings.  She also is a freelance consultant on restaurant, food, travel and hospitality public relations and marketing efforts.
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