MUSIC at the Peace Center

Fresh off Broadway, PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL comes to Greenville.

Based on the beloved ’90s film that made Julia Roberts a superstar, the show features direction and choreography by two-time Tony Award® winner Jerry Mitchell, an original score by Grammy® winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, and a book by legendary director Garry Marshall and screenwriter JF Lawton, PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL delivers all the iconic moments from the movie, plus the joy and fun you’d expect from a great Broadway musical.

The touring production stars Broadway veteran Adam Pascal as Richard Gere in the film. Pascal originated the role of Roger Davis in the Broadway and film productions of RENT and went on to star in many other Broadway and touring shows. He was last seen at the Peace Center as William Shakespeare on SOMETHING ROTTEN’s first national tour.

Alongside Pascal, in the role of Julia Roberts of professional escort Vivian, is Olivia Valli. Although you may not recognize her, you probably recognize her name, especially if you’ve seen JERSEY BOYS before.

“My grandfather is Frankie Valli,” she told BWW in a recent phone interview. “And I wanted to be a pop singer like my grandfather.”

But in high school, she had a life-changing experience playing Mama Rose on GYPSY, and she started wanting to be more than just a wedding singer. After studying musical theater in college, she was cast as an understudy for Elphaba in a touring production of WICKED. After that, she managed to get a dream role – she played her own grandmother, Mary Delgado, in a production of JERSEY BOYS. But she is quick to tell you that she had to earn the role on her own merits.

“My grandpa was like, okay, go ahead, and I’ll just be your grandpa and cheer you on,” she said. “So if anyone has any questions about his influence in my career, well, there are none, because that’s not how theater works.”

I asked Olivia to tell us more about the show and her experience in these iconic roles.


BWW: I think enough time has passed that there’s a whole generation that doesn’t know the movie beyond maybe recognizing the title and knowing that it had Julia Roberts in it. How would you describe the show to people who don’t know the film?

I would say this is about a woman who is a survivor and has been roughed up in life, but rather than being a victim of her situation, she is someone who wants better for herself and she meets someone who is richer, and even though Edward is rich, she is not someone who is impressed with money or status. This is the story of a woman who finds her own voice and her own confidence and learns to say no. And that money and material possessions are not the end of everything.BWW Interview: Olivia Valli of PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL at the Peace Center

Which is always a good message.

It’s like a Cinderella story, but it’s better and it makes more sense.

I like this! And, of course, there’s also the addition of music, so tell me about some of the songs and musical styles.

Well, the great thing about PRETTY WOMAN is you’re going to have your traditional musical theater songs, but you’re also going to really have your pop rock, and you’re going to have an opera stage, and there’s a rock number and roll – I think there’s a little something for everyone. The music was written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, who did a terrific job of nailing the PRETTY WOMAN period and putting music to it. I don’t think it would have been as successful if it was your traditional musical theater score. So while they honor musical theatre, they also really wanted to make sure this was your 80s/90s pop rock musical.

It looks so fun! And in Bryan Adams, you have a real veteran of 80s/90s pop rock helping you compose the score.

It’s so cool and it’s just the most fun to sing. The first song I sing in the show is called “Anywhere But Here” and it’s like being transported to an 80s road trip. It’s so good. And Adam and I sing a song called “Long Way Home” and it’s a powerful ballad from the 90s. I really mean it when I say there’s something for everyone on this show!

Oh, that just brings a big smile to my face just thinking about this idea of ​​a great 90s power ballad.

It’s the best. Like, who doesn’t love a power ballad from the 90s, honestly?

Tell us a little about the choreography and the set design, that kind of thing.

This show is so energetic that the decor is a bit minimal, which I like because I think if we had too much going on it would just be overwhelming. And Jerry Mitchell is a genius. I think everything he touches turns to gold, so you have women strutting around in 5-inch heels doing this beautiful catwalk-worthy choreography. And I’m doing a swing dance number. I do a foxtrot. There is a waltz. There’s hip hop in it. This show nails the demographics of Hollywood, where there are different types of people everywhere, so we also have different types of dance numbers everywhere.

It must be extremely fun to put on every day.

It really is. I think it’s so easy to get bogged down by the world right now, and for good reason – look at everything that’s going on. But our show is just a nice reminder that we’re here to have fun, and sometimes theater can just be fun, and that’s okay. Not everything has to be this Nobel Prize-winning work. What makes it so special is the fact that everyone is having a great time and we are all celebrating this show together.

How would you rate it in terms of audience age appropriateness?

I think it’s definitely 16+. I know the kids go there, but if you know the movie, there are definitely scenes – like the piano scene, the bed scene – and everyone is fully dressed, but you know, I just think the younger audiences might want to walk with caution. And that’s just me saying that as a responsible human being who has younger cousins.

Tell us about your work with Adam Pascal.

BWW Interview: Olivia Valli of PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL at the Peace CenterIt’s funny because when I found out Adam was being cast, I was nervous because Adam is, in my opinion, the role model for male rock tenors in musical theater. Everyone tries to imitate him, everyone tries to be like him and what makes him so special is that even though he is who he is, he is so kind and generous and gives his time and his friendship. He doesn’t consider himself “Adam Pascal”. It’s just Adam and so we’re going to be hanging out and laughing all the time. Just yesterday, one of the people on our show said “I was nervous about contacting you because your number is on the contact sheet” and he said “Well, if it’s was the case, I’ll report you” and he was obviously joking, so everyone laughed about it. It’s so impressive to me when someone leads with character, rather than a name, because coming from my background, I’ve met Clint Eastwood, Clive Davis, I’ve met some of the biggest names in the planet, and sometimes they are very disappointing people. Because when someone tells you you’re the best thing on planet earth and no one humiliates you? It can go to your head, and I’m really lucky to work with Adam, but even to be his friend and see that he leads with character and integrity.

You yourself have an interesting background. You have to play your own grandmother in JERSEY BOYS.

It was the opportunity of a lifetime! She was simply the greatest person I have ever known and had the privilege of knowing. She was the kind of person whose diamond earrings someone loved and she literally took them out of her ears and gave them to that person.

Oh my God.

That’s the kind of heart she had. And that’s why I love playing Vivian because there’s so much of me that’s in Vivian, like not being swayed by money. And I’ll be fine, here are the earrings. I do not care. Just take them. And it’s Viviane. This is Vivian’s heart. You know, it’s funny – the three roles I’ve played professionally, they all have different qualities, but so many qualities are the same, and the basis is staying true to yourself and not being influenced by status, power, money and social class. Just really tough, sensitive women. It was great because it’s my first time being a leading woman and I had to remind myself that even though I’m a leading woman, I still have a duty not to be swayed by the hierarchy that is theater and being true to me and telling the story. And I think that’s what I think makes my Vivian successful in my eyes because I stay true to myself and always do what I have to do. But also the audience loves it every night, and obviously you want people to love the show. So I just remember the gratitude I have for doing this.

Oh, that’s wonderful. So you get good responses from the crowd.

Yes. And it’s so much fun. Naturally you’re a little worried because the Broadway run – while it was good – got mixed reviews, and what makes it so wonderful is that it’s a revamped new show . They cut the Broadway fat and it worked. The audience is at their feet every night, having the best time and it’s just, well, I take my last bow and I’m like, yeah, this is great.


PRETTY WOMAN: MUSIC

February 8 – 13, 2022

PEACE CENTER CONCERT HALL

300 South Main Street
Greenville, SC 29601

Phone: 864.467.3030

https://www.peacecenter.org/events/detail/22-broadway-4