There are a whole lot of men behind Pretty Woman: The Musical. Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance wrote the songs. Garry Marshall and JF Lawton – the duo behind the popular 1990 film – wrote the script. Jerry Mitchell directed and choreographed. You have to get past 22 Jims, Jerrys and Johns before a single female name appears on the credited creative team – US props supervisor Kathleen Fabian.
This might explain why this new musical, which opened in the US in 2018 before closing a year later, offers up such a shallow and outdated vision of sex work, female agency and womanhood. In the original – a wealthy businessman (Edward, played in the film by Richard Gere and here by Hollyoaks alumnus Danny Mac) employs a Hollywood Boulevard sex worker (Julia Roberts’s Vivian, valiantly taken on here by the fizzy Aimie Atkinson) to accompany him on a week of social functions. They bargain. They bicker. They fall in love. Vivian goes on a shopping spree, scrubs up and quits the game. She was always better than that world, the film seems to say.
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