Preview: Pretty Woman, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Preview: Pretty Woman, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

The smash hit, Pretty Woman: The Musical, will arrive at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre from Monday 22 to Saturday 27 July 2024.

Pretty Woman: The Musical is Hollywood’s ultimate rom-com, live on stage, guaranteed to lift your spirits and light up your heart.

Once upon a time in the late ’80s, Vivian met Edward and her life changed forever. Be swept up in their romance in this dazzlingly theatrical take on a love story for the ages – and get to know the iconic characters in a whole new way.

The show features original music and lyrics by Grammy Award winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, a book by Garry Marshall and the film’s screenwriter J.F. Lawton. It is directed and choreographed by the two-time Tony Award winner, Jerry Mitchell.

Garry sadly passed away in 2016, and according to his wife, Barbara, and daughter Kathleen, the director of the film and co-writer of the musical would have been thrilled to learn of its ongoing success.

“Had someone told him it would such a hit around the world he wouldn’t have believed it,” Barbara smiles proudly. “Not only did it make it to Broadway, it’s bringing joy to so many people in so many other places.”

Speaking in a London hotel on a visit to see the show’s final performances at the Savoy Theatre, Barbara adds: “He’d be here with us if he could and he’d have come to all the places we’ve seen the show.”

Kathleen agrees: “As well as being a director my dad was a writer, which he saw as a lonely profession. He always said ‘Once you finish writing something you just have to bask in it because you’re going to be back in the room writing again soon’. So he would be just basking in the excitement that the show is doing so well.”

Bronx-born Marshall was a Hollywood legend who studied journalism and in the late-50s landed a job writing gags for Rat Pack funnyman, Joey Bishop. He broke into TV on the writing staff of The Tonight Show before adapting Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple for the small screen. An even bigger breakthrough came when he created Happy Days in 1974, followed by spin-offs Laverne & Shirley (starring his sister Penny) and Mork & Mindy.

He went on to direct such feature films as Young Doctors in Love, The Flamingo Kid, Overboard and Beaches before Pretty Woman gave him the biggest hit of his career.

Set in the late-80s and released in 1990, it was conceived as a much darker story, with LA streetwise sex worker Vivian (Roberts) struggling with a cocaine addiction and Edward (Richard Gere), the rich businessman who hires her for a week, abandoning her at the end.

It continues to enthral viewers and the scene where Roberts returns to a store that snubbed her and declares “You work on commission right? Big mistake! Big! Huge!” has launched thousands of GIFs.

“Julia says it is the most quoted line to her from all the things she’s done,” Kathleen notes. “It’s this great scene in this wonderful romantic comedy, with this woman going ‘You can’t treat me like that’. I like the way that still resonates today.”

Barbara adds: “I think it’s also about dreaming and wishing and showing that wishes come true sometimes.”

Tickets for Pretty Woman: The Musical (Monday 22 – Saturday 27 July 2024) are on sale at or 02380 711811.

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