The 1990 smash hit movie Pretty Woman is being turned into a musical, with a world premiere next spring in Chicago in anticipation of a move to Broadway. The score has music and lyrics by Bryan Adams and his longtime collaborator Jim Vallance.
As Broadway in Chicago notes, Pretty Woman: The Musical will open at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre on March 13, 2018, and spend a month there before opening on Broadway in the fall. Samantha Barks, who played Eponine in the 2012 film adaptation of Les Miserables, and Steve Kazee, who won a Tony Award for his work in Once, will star in the roles made famous by Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, On Your Feet!) has been hired as the director and choreographer.
Despite a triple-platinum soundtrack that featured hits by Go West (“King of Wishful Thinking”) and Roxette (“It Must Have Been Love”), and brought Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman” and David Bowie’s “Fame” to a younger generation, the producers opted for an all-new score by Adams, who told Billboard that he began lobbying to compose the music years ago, when he first heard that a musical was being proposed.
But it wasn’t until 2015 that he and Vallance got the job. “Basically we did an audition,” Adams said. “Jim and I wrote three songs which we thought would be appropriate for the stage and then we met with [the producers], and it was one of those classic scenarios where, ‘Okay, you guys need to leave the room so we can talk about you, and we’ll call you, don’t call us.’ And then half an hour later I got a call.”
But he also noted that it’s more challenging crafting material for a musical than an unconnected batch of songs for an album. “We have these large meetings when we all sit around, 20-25 people, and they all talk about what’s going to happen and Jim and I sort of skulk away and go write a song,” Adams said. “Obviously these things go through huge changes as you get closer to the date, so the stage is different than a band. You find areas of [the book] where music’s playing and there’s dialogue and you have to segue back into the song, so there’s a lot of arrangements that goes on — a lot more production and arrangement that goes into a musical than there is in making an album. It’s super fun.”
The show’s book was written by J.F. Lawton and Garry Marshall, who, respectively, wrote and directed the movie. Deadline notes that creating a musical out of Pretty Woman was the last project for Marshall, who created Happy Days and directed numerous hit movies, before his death last year.