PRETTY WOMAN the musical brings the beloved rom-com to the stage with some updates and a musical twist, and a lot of love. Olivia Valli, talks about being able to bring the role of Vivian Ward and this show to the San Diego stage. PRETTY WOMAN is playing July 26th – 31st from Broadway San Diego at the San Diego Civic Theatre.
PRETTY WOMAN, based on the 1990 movie starring Julia Roberts could be a nerve-wracking role to take on. But Olivia Valli is no stranger to powerhouse productions and tackling iconic roles having toured with WICKED for three years covering as Elphaba. For this show, she is happy to play a role that
“When I was covering people expect you to be like Elphaba; but Elphaba depends on the actress, so people are a little more open-minded I feel. To play a role played by Julia Roberts I think it’s a split -people either love the take on it or they want it exactly like Julia Roberts.”
Cinema purists will find that the storyline of PRETTY WOMAN, though still based on the movie, has had some updates as well by the book writer and movie director Garry Marshall, along with screenwriter J.F. Lawton. Edward Lewis (played by Adam Pascal) is a powerful businessman, and Vivian (Olivia Valli) is a prostitute that he hires while in Los Angeles. While the story is the same Valli says that the plot is much stronger in showing the nuisances of Vivian’s life and profession.
“There is a stronger plot line for Vivian, and she turns away money not once but twice, and a really big emphasis on the fact that she is her own person and she is the one who rescues Edward. It fits modern times and it is interesting to see how people don’t want to see that. But it’s interesting and really does hit home and help empower women that’s for sure.”
The musical is directed by director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell (HAIRSPRAY, KINKY BOOTS, LEGALLY BLONDE) and features an original score by Grammy winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance (“Summer of ’69”, “Heaven”). Valli says the music not only gives her some amazing songs, but also musical moments by Amma Oseiand Adam Pascal that are not to be missed.
“My favorite song to sing is “Anywhere But Here” and ” I Can’t Go Back” there is nothing more empowering than a woman singing on a stage alone and completely owning it and commanding the stage. That is my favorite moment of the show thus far, it’s so much fun.
I love for everybody to experience the opera because our opera singer Amma is literally one of the most incredible singers I have ever heard in my life. Then there’s Adam who gets to sing this great rock opera kind of moment, it’s wild. You don’t expect it and then you see it and it’s amazing.”
Movie Vivan has many memorable outfits, including the white and blue dress and boots when she meets Edward, to that red dress at the opera, not to mention that iconic makeover and shopping scene as well. Olivia says is a lot of fun to play on stage, with lots of quick changes that always leave the audience cheering, and her favorite outfit that is unique to the musical.
“This show is doing high fashion which is really cool and every single one of Vivian’s costumes is simply unbelievable. My favorite costume has to be a white silk and wool jumpsuit. It’s so beautiful and so sophisticated, and you don’t see it in the movie so it’s a costume piece you have to see for yourself.”
Olivia says that by empowering Vivian in the story, it allows her and the show to show support and open more of a dialogue for people in this line of work.
“I really want to play and highlight somebody such as Vivian who deserves to be seen and heard and really advocated for the strength of women. People in Vivian’s line of work still deserve respect and human decency.”
Olivia says that the show is one that is a lot of fun and will leave audiences singing and feeling good.
“It’s a fun and elevated take on the movie and it’s also a Jerry Mitchel show so the choreography is bananas and it’s so great. Sometimes you just need to watch something warm and fun and heartfelt and leave feeling good.”
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