“Pretty Woman” At The Nederlander, Saturday September 1st, 2018, Reviewed
Remember “Irma La Douce”? A policeman (Jack Lemmon) falls in love with a prostitute (Shirley Maclaine) and invents an alter ego to become her only customer. Sure, French boudoir comedy, and also a less than complete version of the horrors of prostitution. However, it is light years ahead of “Pretty Woman” the 80s movie that made Julia Roberts a superstar, and the pathetic Broadway musical remake.
On “Pretty Baby” the movie a novice hooker has a billionaire for her first client, fucks him but won’t tongue kiss him, she opens up the heart of Richard Gere who way overreacted to be sent to boarding school, tongue kisses him and they all live happily after.
“Pretty Woman” the musical is essentially the same story except… apparently the hooker (Vivian) has more experience this time. Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance wrote the music, and the music is really awful. Having rock stars writing musicals can works Duncan Sheik killed it, so did Cyndi Lauper, the generic claptrap Bryan offers is worse than you can possibly believe, white washed 80s rock pop pap… Bryan actually recorded a great album of rockabilly in 2015, Get Up, I can now sincerely advise you that the album was a fluke.
From the top, in the thankless task of replicating Julia’s star turn that blasted her into the stratosphere, Samantha Barks was charming but in way over her head. Andy Karl, who couldn’t save “Rocky” before he couldn’t save “Groundhog Day,” can’t save billionaire Edward Lewis. And Orpeh (who is married to Andy Karl in the real world) is the best of the three as Vivian’s friend in prostitution, and, if the show had been halfway decent, Eric Anderson would have done himself some favors as the concierge/happy man.
Nothing could safe this terrible show. Laurence Olivier could play every single role and it would still suck. Speaking of sucking, if you plan to bring young ones be ready to explain the simulated blow job scene.