The musical “Pretty Woman” — based on the 1990 rom-com about self-transformation — is touring nationally after it was adapted for the Broadway stage in 2018.
The Columbus Association for the Performing Arts will present “Pretty Woman: The Musical” — in partnership with PNC Broadway in Columbus — at the Ohio Theatre from March 29 to April 3, Lisa Minken, the association’s Broadway in Columbus marketing manager, said.
Minken said the tale is both timeless and trendy, depicting the romance between Vivian Ward (Olivia Valli) and Edward Lewis (Adam Pascal). Strengthened by songs such as “You’re Beautiful” and “Luckiest Girl in the World,” the musical is one to watch, she said.
“If you love the movie, you will definitely love the musical,” she said. “Of course, the biggest element of difference is the original score, written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance.”
The motion picture features a bold ’90s aesthetic, but the musical is more grounded in contemporary times, Minken said. However, emblematic costumes such as Ward’s crimson opera gown — which has remained recognizable and fashionable over the years — and props from the movie are properly represented in the musical, she said.
“It doesn’t necessarily look like the ’90s, but it tips its hat to all of the iconic things you love from the film,” Minken said.
Jessica Crouch, the actress playing Kit De Luca — Ward’s tough yet fun-loving best friend — said “Pretty Woman: The Musical” aims to be humorous but is also jam-packed with sentimentality. In this way, she said the musical mimics the nostalgia factor of the film.
“It’s one of those movies I’ve always been familiar with,” Crouch said. “You turn on the TV, and you end up watching the whole thing and falling in love with it all over again.”
As a member of the original Broadway cast, Crouch said the show has undergone several changes, seeking to enhance the source material’s plot without being redundant.
“We are really true to the movie,” Crouch said. “But the music adds an extra layer, bringing something new and exciting to the story that people haven’t seen before.”
She said adapting the story from screen to stage also extends to characters such as De Luca.
“After watching Vivian come into her own, she starts to realize she doesn’t have to give up on herself,” Crouch said. “That’s kind of a new thing we brought to the musical versus the movie.”
Slowly but surely, live theater continues to make a comeback in Columbus. Because of the pandemic, the organization was thrust into a precarious position, but Minken said the work never truly came to a standstill.
“It was a priority to be in communication with our audience,” Minken said. “We interacted with folks a lot more on social media to keep our engagement and information sharing alive.”
A similar level of dedication has been exhibited by actors and actresses in the industry, Crouch said. Swings — performers who understudy a multitude of roles — need to be prepared to go on at all times, she said. With illness spreading, Crouch said demand and appreciation for swings have only grown.
Having been a swing during the 2018-19 Broadway production of “Pretty Woman,” Crouch said she understands the talent and diligence it takes.
“It was exciting to step into one part and create my own version of it,” Crouch said. “But the swings are the backbone of our show, and I bow down to them.”
Despite the challenges, all the work is worth it when the crowd hushes and the curtain rises, Crouch said.
“It’s uplifting, heartwarming and feel-good,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s like a warm hug.”
Tickets to “Pretty Woman: The Musical” can be purchased on the Broadway in Columbus website or on Ticketmaster. Minken said a small number of tickets will be available for in-person purchase at the CBUSArts Ticket Center, located in the Ohio Theatre at 39 E. State St.