“I don't want to give away too much, but I think all the standards are there. I watched the film the other night for just a reference point and I was like, we got that; we got that. There are those moments that you have to have,” Steven Kazee teases to ET at Garry Marshall Theatre's First Annual Founders Gala. “What we're trying to do is tell the story in the same way to a new audience. We just want to try to be as true to the story as possible.”
The movie-turned-musical about a prostitute and a wealthy businessman who fall in love with each other is set to open on Broadway in the fall of 2018 following a five-week engagement at the Oriental Theater in Chicago beginning March 13, 2018. Directed by Jerry Mitchell, the show will feature a book written by J.F. Lawton and the late Marshall, who died in July 2016, with music and lyrics by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance.
The Shameless star and Tony Award winner for Once will play Edward, the rich corporate raider that Gere originated onscreen. “I'm honored to be able to play a part he made famous and make it my own,” Kazee says, adding that it will be just as sexy as the movie: “I'm eating grilled chicken and broccoli for the next two months because I will be wearing very few pieces of clothing.”
While Samantha Barks (Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables) is making her Broadway debut as Vivian Ward, taking over Roberts’ iconic role, Orfeh is set to make her long-awaited return to the stage as Kit de Luca, Vivian’s street-walking best friend. “I think people are going to flip out and they’re really going to enjoy it,” the Tony-nominated performer gushes about the show at the Double Standards concert in New York City benefiting women's rights, health and empowerment. “I am singing a lot as Kit. I can’t give it away, but you’ll really enjoy what Kit sings.”
Pretty Woman will be Orfeh’s triumphant return to Broadway 10 years after playing Paulette in the musical adaptation of Legally Blonde. Her husband, Andy Karl, whom she met during Broadway’s Saturday Night Fever in 1999, played Kyle (the UPS guy) in the show. Karl most recently starred in two other movie musicals, Groundhog Dayand Rocky. “My husband and I have the prototypes for people when there is a movie coming to Broadway. One of us is going to star in it,” Orfeh jokes.
The new musical also marks a reunion for Orfeh and Mitchell, who directed Legally Blonde. “I’ve been dying to work with him again. I have been with [Pretty Woman] for a long time. I’ve done all the workshops with him and I am really looking forward to it,” she reveals.
Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Hairspray) who choreographed NBC’s Hairspray Live! last December, believes Pretty Woman is the perfect Cinderella story. “I thought the characters really had an opportunity to sing about their stories. I always thought it would make a great musical and I was able to convince [Garry Marshall].” And with Adams and his longtime writing partner composing, Mitchell promises the new score and songs -- 23 in total -- “are sensational.”
“I can’t tell you what a marriage it is. It’s perfect,” Orfeh says, with Kazee adding: “Those guys have this incredible ability to walk away and come back with a top 40 hit song on their hands. So, I think the music is one of our strongest points of the show.”
While the show is still a long way from making its Broadway debut, Orfeh promises that audiences are going to “fall in love with it onstage. There is an amazing balance between what’s kept and what’s new,” she says, reiterating Kazee’s point about the musical maintaining the essence of the movie that made it so successful.
“Ultimately it's a love story,” Kazee concludes. “That’s the story we're trying to tell and we want people to walk away feeling happy.”