Broadway in Orlando; “Pretty Woman: The Musical”

"Pretty Woman: The Musical" will lift your spirits and light up your heart.

Action-packed, fast-paced opening number. Check.

Catchy tunes. Check.

Mega-wattage star power that lights up the stage. Check.

“Pretty Woman: The Musical,” now playing at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, has all of this and more, with one exception; the original music from the movie. The only two songs that made it to the stage are the music from the opera, “La Traviata,” and the theme song by Roy Orbison, “Pretty Woman,” which made for a (spoiler alert) crowd-pleasing finale.

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The Company of “Pretty Woman: The Musical” Photo courtesy of Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

As we all know, “Pretty Woman: The Musical” is based on one of Hollywood’s most beloved romantic stories of all time, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.

This newest incarnation is brought to life with a powerhouse creative team led by two-time Tony Award®-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell (“Hairspray,” “Kinky Boots,” “Legally Blonde), book by Garry Marshall and J. F. Lawton, with music and lyrics by Grammy® winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance.

“The musical had to show that she was willing to walk away from everything because she couldn’t be bought. She had her direction, and she was going to stick with it,” said producer Paula Wagner. “A butterfly emerged, and the butterfly was very strong and empowered.”

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Jessica Crouch and Jessie Davidson Photo courtesy of Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

The evening starts off with “Welcome to Hollywood,” an energetic opening number that introduces us to the principal players and gives the talented supporting cast a moment to shine. We can’t say enough superlatives about this phenomenal supporting cast, who explodes with energy every time they hit the stage. Keyonna Knight who went on for Jessica Crouch’s Kit DeLuca, was a joy, with an epic vocal range. Knight made me yearn for more Kit DeLuca.

There is true Broadway star-power on stage in this show. Adam Pascal, who played Roger Davis in the original cast of “Rent,” Off-Broadway, Broadway and on the London stage, has one of the finest gravelly rock voices the day, with a little dash of David Bowie thrown in for spice. As the uptight, cutthroat businessman, at first one wonders how his vocal styling will fit with this Richard Gere-like, tense character, but then he opens his mouth, and it all comes together in style.

Pascal’s onstage chemistry with Jessica Davidson as Vivian Ward, the role made famous by Julia Roberts, is at first fun, playful and then kind of hot. Davidson’s voice is powerful, stunning, and she uses it beautifully, never pushing too hard.

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Adam Pascal and Jessie Davidson Photo courtesy of Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

The production is filled with zest and fun. The pacing was brisk with never a dull moment, and never taking itself too seriously. On opening night, the audience had a blast. Laughs were plenty, with a standing ovation at the end of the evening.

Yes, times have changed since the original movie made its debut in 1990. If you’re a loyal fan or brand new to the story, “Pretty Woman: The Musical” makes for a dazzling and enchanting night at the theater.

“Pretty Woman: The Musical” playing February 28 through March 5, showtimes vary. For information or tickets or call 407-358-6603

Categories: Performing Arts