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Midvale Journal

REVIEW: ‘Pretty Woman: The Musical’ underwhelms

Apr 03, 2024 11:25AM ● By Peri Kinder

Chase Wolf and Ellie Baker play Edward and Vivian in “Pretty Woman: The Musical” based on the 1990 hit movie with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.

I didn’t have high expectations going into “Pretty Woman: The Musical” at Eccles Theater and, sadly, I wasn’t disappointed. Based on the 1990 movie starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, the musical adaptation didn’t capture the film’s spark.  

While Roberts and Gere had on-screen chemistry that made the movie bearable, haven’t we evolved past yet another retelling of “Pygmalion” where a wealthy man takes a beautiful young girl out of the gutter and shapes her to become exactly what he needs? 

Having said that, the cast did a good job, given what they had to work with. Ellie Baker plays the 
open-hearted and fun-loving prostitute Vivian, showing off her vocals in the solos “Anywhere but Here” and “I Can’t Go Back”. 

Chase Wolfe plays the fast-talking billionaire Edward who hires Vivian to be his companion for the week. He takes her shopping! He exposes her to the opera! He introduces her to his friends at a polo event!

Wolfe also demonstrates some strong vocal chops through several songs but as Edward, he never seemed comfortable. When he was trying to be comfortable (reading Shakespeare, walking barefoot), it was almost cringeworthy. 

Adam Du Plessis was a stand-out scene-stealer. His chameleon-like performance encompassed his role as Happy Man, the hotel manager, a fashion shop owner and even a stint as the orchestra conductor. He and Connor Kabat, who played Giulio the goofy bellhop, should take their song, dance and comedy routine on the road. 

Rae Davenport, who has an amazing powerhouse voice, plays Vivian’s hooker side-kick Kit De Luca. Vivian tells Kit she doesn’t want to give up on her dreams, but she never specifies what those dreams might be. I guess her dream was to make a billionaire fall in lust with her for a week. 

And why does she fall for him? Oh, right. He’s her knight on a white horse, coming to save the princess. But maybe, just maybe, the princess doesn’t need saving. Maybe she can get her GED, enroll in community college, find a career and save her own life. 

In a show highlight, opera singer Sarah Wang had a stand-out performance as Violetta as she sang from “La Traviata”. During the opera scene, Wang and Wolfe have a quasi-duet as he sings about his growing attraction for Vivian. 

The cast was good, but the songs didn’t resonate, and for the love of Liza Minnelli, stop writing “filler” songs that don’t move the plot forward. There isn’t a law that musicals must be more than two hours long. The brilliant “Six” (performed at Eccles in January) took only 90 minutes to tell the story with songs that made me download the soundtrack on the way home from the theater. 

Overall, the show was a mediocre story based on a cliche that needs to be updated or eliminated. 

“Pretty Woman: The Musical” was created by two-time Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell. It featured an original score by Grammy winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, and a book by the movie’s director Garry Marshall and screenwriter J. F. Lawton.

The show is performed at the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater, 131 Main Street, in Salt Lake City through Sunday, April 7. Find ticket info at