Olivia Valli brings Vivian Ward and PRETTY WOMAN The Musical to Broadway San Diego

PRETTY WOMAN the Musical brings the beloved romantic comedy to the stage with a few updates and a musical twist, and lots of love. Olivia Valli, talks about being able to bring the role of Vivian Ward and this show to the San Diego scene. PRETTY WOMAN plays Broadway San Diego July 26-31 at the San Diego Civic Theater.

PRETTY WOMAN, based on the 1990 film starring Julia Roberts, could be a nerve-wracking role to take on. But Olivia Valli is no stranger to powerhouse productions and iconic roles after touring with WICKED for three years as Elphaba. For this show, she is happy to play a role that

“When I was covering, people expected you to be like Elphaba, but Elphaba depends on the actress, so people are a little more open-minded, I think. To play a role played by Julia Roberts, I think it’s a split – people either like to take it on or they want it just like Julia Roberts.”

Film purists will find that PRETTY WOMAN’s story, while still based on the film, has also been updated by writer and director Garry Marshall, as well as screenwriter JF Lawton. Edward Lewis (played by Adam Pascal) is a powerful businessman and Vivian (Olivia Valli) is a prostitute he hires in Los Angeles. Although the story is the same, Valli says the plot is much stronger by showing the nuisances of Vivian’s life and profession.

“There’s a stronger plot for Vivian, and she refuses money not once but twice, and a really big emphasis on the fact that she’s her own person and she’s the one saving Edward. It fits in with modern times and it’s interesting how people don’t want to see it, but it’s interesting and it really hits home and helps empower women, that’s for sure.

The musical is directed by director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell (HAIRSPRAY, KINKY BOOTS, LEGALLY BLONDEE) and presents an original score by Grammy winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance (“Summer of ’69,” “Heaven”). Valli says the music not only gives her amazing songs, but also must-see Amma Osei and Adam Pascal musical moments.

“My favorite song to sing is ‘Anywhere But Here’ and ‘I Can’t Go Back’ there’s nothing more empowering than a woman singing alone on a stage and completely owning it and commanding the stage. C is my favorite moment to show it so far, it’s so much fun.

I love that everyone experiences opera because our opera singer Amma is literally one of the most amazing singers I have ever heard in my life. Then there’s Adam singing this great rock opera moment, it’s wild. You don’t expect it, 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, that red dress at the opera, not to mention that iconic makeover and shopping scene. Olivia says it’s great fun to perform on stage, with lots of quick changes that always leave the audience cheering, and her favorite outfit that’s unique to the musical.

This show does high fashion which is really cool and each of Vivian’s costumes are just amazing. 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 that 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 dialogue for people in this line of work.

“I really want to perform and showcase someone like Vivian who deserves to be seen and heard and who truly champions the strength of women. People in Vivian’s craft always deserve respect and human decency.”

Olivia says the show is great fun and will leave the audience singing along and feeling great.

“It’s a fun, elevated version of the movie and it’s also a Jerry Mitchel show, so the choreography is bananas and it’s so awesome. Sometimes you just need to watch something warm, fun and sincere and feel good.”

How to get tickets

See Olivia Valli and the cast of PRETTY WOMAN at the San Diego Civic Theater on Broadway San Diego July 26-31. For information on tickets and show times, go to www.broadwaysd.com

Photo credit: (Left to right) Adam Pascal and Olivia Valli Credit Matthew Murphy

Amma Osei and The Company of Pretty Woman Musical credit Matthew Murphy

(Left to right) Kelsee Sweigard, Olivia Valli and Becca Suskauer Credit Matthew Murphy