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Vivian and Edward. Photo: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade.

Review: Pretty Woman: The Musical at the NAC

By Samara Caplan and Laura Gauthier on November 16, 2022

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Laura and Samara spend their days as non-profit unicorns and fill every spare minute exploring the world of musical theatre as BFFs (that’s Broadway Friends Forever). Follow @bffs613 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Welcome to Hollywood! Pretty Woman: The Musical brings a little taste of LA to the National Arts Centre from November 15 to 20. Based on the 1990 smash hit movie of the same name, Pretty Woman: The Musical was brought to Broadway stages for a 13-month run ending in August 2019, and the touring production now brings it to us in Ottawa.

If you haven’t seen the film (it’s been over 30 years—time to catch up on a ’90s classic!), it tells the story of Vivian and Edward, who have a chance meeting that ends with Edward hiring Vivian to keep him company throughout his time in Hollywood. Accompanying him to dinner and work events, Vivian struggles to fit into Edward’s high-end and judgemental world, where everyone seems intent on making her feel less than. Though Vivian is not the expected choice for someone like Edward, she seems to be exactly what he needs. Audiences root for this unlikely couple from beginning to end and will love seeing a fairytale come to life on stage.

“Take care of you.” Kit and Vivian in Pretty Woman. Photo: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade.

With a book by the movie’s very own director Garry Marshall and screenwriter J.F. Lawton, and an original score by Canadian icons Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, this show has the recipe to do one of audiences’ favourite romance movies justice as a stage adaption.

The cast is led by Jessie Davidson and Broadway veteran Adam Pascal (of RENT fame) as Vivian and Edward. With knockout belts, vibrant chemistry, and loveable charm, they are everything you want to see in the stage version of a favourite movie couple. Kyle Taylor Parker’s Happy Man is around every corner of this musical from Hollywood Boulevard to Beverly Hills, and brings a constant flow of comedic relief fashion and rousing dance numbers. The character of Giulio may not ring immediate bells from the original movie, but is an amazing addition to the stage production. Trent Soyster plays the role, flawlessly offering continued levity and humour. As an audience member, you consistently feel like you’re in on a secret with him and it is a pleasure to watch every moment he is on stage.

“Big mistake. Huge!” Photo: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade.

One of the most iconic aspects of the movie is its huge range of memorable fashion moments and costume designer Gregg Barnes does not disappoint! All your favourite costumes will make an appearance, whether it’s the blue and white number hotel guests originally meet Vivian in or the jaw-dropping off-the-shoulder red opera dress, the fashion in the stage version will leave you just as in awe as the movie did.

Pretty Woman: The Musical has seamlessly brought the movie to the stage, keeping the energy, fashion, famous lines, and even its signature tune in place. It’s a chance to watch some great performances, enjoy a heartwarming story and a fun night out!


Pretty Woman: The Musical runs from November 15–20 at the National Arts Centre. Evening performances are at 8pm, except Sunday at 7:30pm. Matinees are on Saturday at 2pm and Sunday at 1pm. The show runs for two hours and 20 minutes with an intermission and tickets are available for purchase here.


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