“Pretty Woman: The Musical,” based on the hit 1990 romantic comedy, is an emotional ride. The actors brilliantly displayed every feeling throughout their portrayal at the Fox Theatre on Sept. 15. The show features two protagonists: Vivian Ward, played by Olivia Valli, and Edward Lewis, played by Adam Pascal (who is perhaps best known as the actor who created the role of Roger in “Rent” 25 years ago). The musical is set in Hollywood, the perfect place for proper romance. They’re meant to spend the night together. However, this turns into a week — a deal worth $3,000 for Vivian, who is a sex-worker. Throughout the week, both are set on a journey of self-love and discovery, along with a little Cinderella-spun romance. Ultimately, “Pretty Woman” is a show about learning to overcome our built-in biases.
Self-love, something teens often struggle with, is a prominent theme throughout the show. Because of Vivian’s profession, she feels misplaced and insignificant when she arrives in Hollywood. Edward hires her to have someone to include in his life, from his business affairs to his social events. Vivian slowly finds herself through these events, discovering what she loves to do. For instance, in Act One, they attend a ball. Vivian is unable to dance appropriately before the ball, and so she’s taught to do ballroom dances — something she falls in love with. The night ends up taking on a fairytale-esque theme of discovery. Moreover, she comes to understand that she’s more than what people have seen her for in the past. She’s a silly, vivacious, lovable character and not someone who’s only valuable because she’s a sex-worker. This storyline is what makes the show work.
The acting, the vocals and the performers all play a huge role. In terms of production, the musical scores are beautifully written and performed. The best song of the show, “Anywhere But Here,” focuses on how hard it can sometimes be to fit into a society which tells you that you aren’t good enough. The song focuses on defying that, through letting others know that we all have a place in life. The costumes, the sets, the lighting — everything was brilliantly displayed.
The production qualities were not a surprise. This is, after all, a national touring production guaranteed to attract large audiences. The real surprise with “Pretty Woman: The Musical?” There is more to the story than moviegoers might recall.
VOX teens had the opportunity to see “Pretty Woman: The Musical” at the Fox Theatre, thanks to the generosity of VOX ATL’s community partner Most Valuable Kids Atlanta.