Friday, February 16, 2018

February 16

Something to think about:
Americans make up 4.4 percent of the global population but own 42 percent of the world’s guns.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

February 14

Better than a box of chocolates:

Cupid, draw back your bow 
and let your arrow go...

...straight to my lover's heart
for me, nobody but me.

Cupid, please hear my cry
and let your arrow fly...

...straight to my lover's heart for me.

I wish!

Happy Valentine's Day,

Before you met me
I was alright
But things were kinda heavy
You brought me to life
Now every February
You'll be my valentine, valentine

A stage musical version of the 1990 film “Pretty Woman” opens next month in Chicago for a five week pre-Broadway trial run before its move to NYC in July. As a romantic comedy, the movie still wears its crown as the best of its genre for at least the past generation. It made Julia Roberts a star, and Richard Gere’s on-screen chemistry with Roberts (as Vivian) was off the charts. It’s hard to imagine other actors in those roles, and the stage version cast must be intimidated beyond measure, since most patrons who see this new musical will have seen the iconic film.

Bravely, British actress Samantha Barks will take on the role of Vivian, the hooker hired by millionaire Edward (the Richard Gere part), to be portrayed on stage by Steve Kazee (who grew up in a trailer in rural Kentucky). 

Their odds are somewhat improved by the prospect that the Broadway script was co-written by the film’s late director (Gary Marshall) and screen play writer (J. F. Lawton). Jerry Mitchell, who has experience turning films into stage musicals, is the director and choreographer. Since the music and lyrics come from Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, my guess it that the score will have the flavor of a rock musical. Fortunately, both Samantha Barks and Steve Kazee have bona fides in the vocal department.

From your blogger: The film was so well done that I was shocked by the beyond-cheesy ending. Richard Gere looked positively embarrassed having to wave convenience-store roses through the roof of a white Lincoln stretch limo before climbing up a fire escape. Holding the plastic-wrapped roses IN HIS TEETH, he throws out his arms before climbing farther up to embrace Roberts. Puh-leez. Edward never did anything on the cheap (those skimpy roses) and would never be caught dead in a white limo (being from NYC, a black sedan car would have been more his style). I’m just sayin’. While working on the book for the musical prior to his death, Marshall stated that he was eager to “correct” some of the faults of the movie’s script. Let’s hope he was focusing on the ending.

The show will open for NYC previews exactly two years and a day (July 20) after the death of Gary Marshall on July 19, 2016, at age 81 (pneumonia following a stroke). Marshall left a powerhouse legacy of television shows (The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy) and films (The Flamingo Kid, Beaches, The Princess Diaries, The Runaway Bride, etc.). 

“Pretty Woman: The Musical” will have its world premiere March 13 at Chicago’s Oriental Theater. Then previews commence in NYC at the Nederlander Theatre on July 20 in a run-up to its Broadway opening night on August 16. Tickets are already available on-line for both Chicago and NYC:

Because of the public’s enchantment with the film, “Pretty Woman: the Musical” should sell like hot cakes. Musicals based on movies or comic books are what sells these days, although I lament the golden era of original material. It encourages me that “Dear Evan Hansen,” an original musical based on mental illness / social anxiety disorder, is a smash hit on Broadway right now.

A preview of Mr. Kazee’s talents: A cabaret performance by Megan Hilty and Steve Kazee singing “Fine” from the musical “Ordinary Days” by Adam Gwon (composer of both music and lyrics at the piano).