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On Thursday, original Pretty Woman star Julia Roberts attended the Broadway musical based on the film that helped launch her career.
Roberts was there to attend a special memorial performance for the late Garry Marshall, the film’s director and co-author of the musical. She wore an orange T-shirt with Laverne and Shirley on it, a nod to Marshall’s work on the iconic TV series. Roberts and Marshall first worked together on Pretty Woman, and also collaborated on Runaway Bride, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
Before the show, Roberts walked the red carpet with Marshall’s family: his widow Barbara, daughter Kathleen and son Scott. Marshall had been working on bringing his 1990 hit film to Broadway up until his death in 2016.
“We know he’s here tonight,” said Barbara. Marshall is famous for bringing back the same actors for several of his films, including Roberts, and that community mentality continues on Broadway.
“That’s what Garry loved to do,” Kathleen said. “Even an extra party in the middle of previews, Garry would love that. He really thought the work is what you’re doing, so enjoy it while you’re working.”
When Roberts entered the Nederlander Theatre in New York, the audience erupted in applause, with iPhones at the ready. During the curtain call, she joined the standing ovation and let out shouts for the cast, particularly for leading lady Samantha Barks, who had no idea Roberts was in the audience.
“I nearly passed out!” Barks said of the moment she found out about Roberts’ attendance at curtain call. “Thank God I didn’t know. When I saw her, I was like, ‘Thank God I didn’t know you were here.’ How can you do any of the show knowing that she’s sitting there? I’m just obsessed with her and look up to her, and we get to do this because of her magic. It was such an honor. When I saw her, we just hugged and stayed in a hug. It was surreal and amazing. She was so lovely and supportive, and that means the world.”
Roberts posted a photo of her and Barks on Instagram with the caption, “Lovely to meet this talented woman. #prettywomanthemusical #supercast”
Lovely to meet this talented woman. #prettywomanthemusical #supercast
A post shared by Julia Roberts (@juliaroberts) on
Andy Karl, who plays Edward Lewis, said Roberts gave him a compliment backstage. “She said, ‘You have the hardest part in the show. I know because Richard Gere complained every day on the movie,'” he said. “She’s awesome. I get this vibe from Julia that she’s a genuine person and a great actor, so she’s going to see all the stuff that’s onstage that we want an actor to see.”
Producer Paula Wagner, director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell and Marshall’s family joined the cast onstage to pay tribute to their friend, family member and collaborator.
“His dream was to make it on Broadway,” Scott Marshall said. “When he was a little kid, growing up in New York, his mother would take him to Broadway shows, he and his sisters, and they didn’t have a lot of money so they sat way in the back row, and that’s where he first fell in love with live theater. He never gave up on his dream.”
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