‘Pretty Woman’ the musical, headed for Chicago debut before Broadway

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Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman” (1990). | BUENA VISTA PICTURES

It was bound to happen. After all, “Pretty Woman,” the 1990 romantic comedy starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, became a mega-hit at movie box offices and reportedly sold more than 42 million tickets domestically alone.

Samantha Barks | Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

Samantha Barks | Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

Now, nearly three decades later, Broadway has come calling, with Chicago just announced as the site of the pre-Broadway world premiere of a musical version of the film. The show will play a five-week engagement, March 13-April 15, 2018, at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph. It will begin performances on Broadway in the fall of 2018.

Featuring a score by Grammy Award winner Bryan Adams and his long-time songwriting partner, Jim Vallance, and a book by Garry Marshall (director of the film) and J.F. Lawton (who wrote the screenplay), the musical will be directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell (who received one of his several Tony Awards for choreography, along with a Tony nomination for best direction of a musical, for the hit 2013 Broadway show “Kinky Boots”).

Starring in the Gere role of wealthy businessman Edward Lewis will be Steve Kazee, who originated the role of “The Guy” in the Broadway musical “Once” and received a Tony Award for his performance. Samantha Barks, the British-born actress who starred as Eponine in the film version of “Les Miserables,” will play Roberts’ part, Vivian Ward, the down-on-her-luck Hollywood hooker hired to be Edward’s escort for a week of business and social events.

In a prepared statement, Paula Wagner, one of the show’s producers, said:“Jerry Mitchell has expanded the narrative and storytelling of this acclaimed romantic comedy. He brings his unique perspective to the story which illuminates the characters and provides a new and satisfying emotional resonance.

Steve Kazee | Evan Agostini /Invision/AP

Steve Kazee | Evan Agostini /Invision/AP

“… ‘Vivian’ and ‘Edward’ meet under unlikely circumstances and go on a journey that allows them to discover their own self-worth. Self-empowerment is integral to the reason why these two lost souls are able to fall in love, and we now have two amazing, charismatic actors with incredible chemistry to take audiences on that journey.”

Tickets to “Pretty Woman: The Musical” will be part of the next Broadway in Chicago season subscription series that will go on sale Oct. 18. Group tickets for 10 or more are on sale now; call (312) 977-1710. Individual tickets will go on sale later. For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

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