Leads Set for Broadway-Bound 'Pretty Woman' Musical

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Samantha Barks, Steve Kazee; (inset) Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in 1990's 'Pretty Woman'

'Les Miserables' discovery Samantha Barks and Tony Award winner Steve Kazee will step into the shoes of Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in the Paula Wagner production, which features a new score by Bryan Adams.

The perennially popular 1990 rom-com Pretty Woman, about a Hollywood Boulevard hooker who gets rescued by a wealthy businessman and then rescues him right back, is one step closer to its new incarnation as a stage musical.

Lead producer Paula Wagner has announced plans for a Chicago tryout in spring 2018 before bouncing to Broadway in the fall. Also confirmed are the lead actors taking on the roles played onscreen by Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.

Samantha Barks, best known as Eponine in the 2012 movie version of Les Miserables, will play down-on-her-luck prostitute Vivian Ward, while Steve Kazee, a 2012 Tony winner as lead actor in the musical Once, will co-star as cynical corporate raider Edward Lewis, who hires her as an escort for his weeklong stay in Los Angeles. The show will mark the Broadway debut for Barks.

The happily-ever-after tale features a new score by Bryan Adams and his longtime songwriting partner Jim Vallance, with a book by Garry Marshall and J.F. Lawton, the director and screenwriter of the original movie, respectively. The film was a massive hit for Disney's Touchstone Pictures, grossing $178.4 million domestically and a further $285 million in foreign.

The long-in-development show will debut March 13 next year at Chicago's Oriental Theatre, playing a limited five-week engagement, ahead of a Broadway premiere at a Nederlander theater to be announced.

Director and choreographer on the production is two-time Tony winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots), who worked with Marshall for more than a year on the project before the latter's death in July 2016, expanding on the story's theme of two lost souls finding self-empowerment through love.

"Pretty Woman: The Musical will have the heart, humor, warmth and joy of the film, with a stunning original score," said Wagner, the former UA partner and film producer whose Broadway ventures have included The Heiress, starring Jessica Chastain and Dan Stevens.

Also on the producing team are Nice Productions, LPO, New Regency Productions, Roy Furman, James L. Nederlander, Caiola Productions, Hunter Arnold, Stage Entertainment and the John Gore Organization.

Barks is represented by WME. Kazee is represented by APA and D2 Management.

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