SALT LAKE CITY —  Is one week enough time to fall in love? The premise of this week’s hilarious and steamy national tour at the Eccles theatre will have an answer when its torrid affair in Salt Lake City at the spectacular Eccles Theatre ends on April 7. Pretty Woman:The Musical is an adaptation of the movie featuring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. The musical production utilizes many of its most iconic quips, quotes, and costumes making it a dazzling recall of the story that became the second highest grossing film of 1990. This production featured high energy music and dancing layered into a classic story that is a little more Pygmalion than Cinderella but becomes a dizzying array of emotion on stage. 

The challenge with adapting a non-musical into a musical is finding a way to add music that drives the story forward in a way that the original text does not. The book for Pretty Woman: The Musical is written by Garry Marshall & J.F. Lawton, the latter of whom wrote the screenplay for the Touchstone Pictures film. The music and lyrics by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance were bright and energetic, but in most cases so generic that they could have been applied to nearly any story. 

Pretty Woman plays at the Eccles Theatre through April 7, 2024

Vivian Ward, the dreamy-eyed prostitute, sings a song called “Anywhere But Here” that was vague enough to be about Jack from Newsies or Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz without changing a word. Edward Lewis, the unfulfilled Billionaire sings a song called “Freedom” but he has no constraints on him. He’s wealthy, shed his father’s legacy, has no other social obligations, needs or debts. Most of his character seems incredibly unmotivated as meaningful dialogue is replaced by hollow songs that were incredibly sung and danced, but overall lacking connection to this story. The one exception is Vivian’s  moving ballad “This Is My Life” which was an exceptional addition to the story and added depth and beauty to the play.

The songs, despite being fairly basic, were beautifully sung. Ellie Baker has a stunning voice that always captivated. She made it look easy to have ringing, beautiful clarity to her tone. Baker was far and away the standout performer giving Vivian’s character depth and humor worthy of the character’s originator. She was coy in the play’s opening as she resisted working the street and spoke with genuine understanding about the car’s mechanical needs. The lines that needed to break tension — or increase it — always delivered. She’s on a shortlist of performers I look forward to seeing again in any role. 

Eccles ; Broadway At the Eccles ; 2024 ; Pretty Woman ; National Tour ; SLC ; Salt Lake

Chase Wolfe embodied the luxurious persona of Edward Lewis. Lewis found ways to make the character sympathetic when the script doesn’t help make him understandable. His aloof responses to the initial romantic buildups belied a character more sheep than wolf. Rather than lean too hard into the character’s tropes, he gave a simple performance that was rich in nuance. However, as scenes steamed up, Wolfe and Baker had on stage chemistry was at times even racy. That’s not a surprise given the story’s context and origins, but I was surprised to not see a credited intimacy choreographer as the show was pointedly intimate in several key moments. 

Christine Peter’s touring scenic design was largely functional over fashionable. Simple set pieces moved on and off to indicate change of place, and most of the background scenery were forced perspective silhouettes that gave an indication of location. I was, however, intrigued by the dual purpose curtains that could lengthen to be the hotel lobby, or condense and adjust to be Edward’s penthouse suite. It felt like drawing on the Disneyland Haunted Mansion where the set expanded subtly but successfully. 

I think the strength of DB Bonds’ direction recreation was allowing moments to play out. The sensual scenes were slow burns but played out to fairly provocative points. The humor was allowed to land as jokes were punchy and layered in truly delightful ways. The choreography was delightful and allowed strong ensemble members such as Adam du Pliess (Happy Man) to be a mystical urban narrator in a variety of settings and Connor Kabat (Giulio) as a knavish bellhop who was in on many of the best physical comedy bits in the production. du Pliess and Kabat stole the show and were incredibly entertaining in their bits independently and together. The levity that permeated the play made it a truly enjoyable production. 

The only technical nit I would pick is that the play opened fairly quietly. The sound mixing improved through the performance, but at times the production lacked the full force feeling of live theatre, despite the fairly in-your-face nature of the play’s energy. 

Like Vivian, there are surely many who can relate to the idea of a Georgia southern belle transplanted to an unfamiliar place and seeking for charm and security in the arms of a wealthy man who seems to be good at materialistic life. This production through Broadway at the Eccles was another sensational national tour. The actors were incredible and the energy of the show was truly fun and upbeat. The humor and sensitivity of the leading lady makes the story so endearing and I found myself enjoying Pretty Woman: The Musical from start to storybook finish. 

Pretty Woman plays at the Eccles Theatre at 7:30pm through April 7 with a Saturday Matinee, (131 S. Main). Tickets are $52-149. For more information, visit

These reviews are made possible by a grant from the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks program.