The hooker with the coronary heart of gold is singing a brand new tune — however it’s the usual icky story.
“Fairly Lady: The Musical,” which opened Thursday on Broadway, boasts slick path and choreography (by Jerry Mitchell of “Kinky Boots”), plus wonderful performances.
However, like so many films churned into musicals, the present is a warmed-over copy of the authentic.
Severely: Why would anybody revisit such a cool fable, particularly in the #MeToo age? It follows Vivian (Samantha Barks), a Hollywood Boulevard streetwalker whose $3,000 cope with Edward (Andy Karl), a cold-hearted billionaire, results in love. It’s a fairy story replete with condoms, money and contrivances — and a nagging yech issue.
That was there even in 1990, when “Fairly Lady” made Julia Roberts a star and cemented Richard Gere’s standing as a hunk. It’s there when Viv plops a pillow on the ground and slithers between Ed’s legs. Watching the encounter on movie and onstage, you think about thought balloons over her head full of greenback indicators. The identical goes when the duo redefines what it means to bang on a piano, as Edward tickles greater than the ivories.
The musical adheres faithfully to the movie, with J.F. Lawton duplicating a lot of the dialogue — verbatim — from the script he wrote for the Garry Marshall movie. Even Barks’ wardrobe is a duplicate of Roberts’, from her blue working-girl micro-mini to the flowing pink opera robe.
The nice rating, by Canadian pop star Bryan Adams and longtime music associate Jim Vallance, is all gentle rock and clean grooves, although earworms are in brief provide. Manufacturing numbers like the ridiculous style present, “Rodeo Drive, Child,” change into exhausting, even when it’s led by the explosively gifted Orfeh, who performs Vivian’s streetwalking BFF, Equipment.
At the least three songs (“Anyplace however Right here,” “Welcome to Our World” and “You and I”) contact on Eliza Doolittle territory, sufficient to make you assume you’re watching “My Honest Woman of the Evening.”
The look of the present is a head-scratcher. Skimpy set items — an arch right here, a palm tree there — slide into place as places change. Scenic designer David Rockwell seems to have been on a price range.
In distinction, the leads go for broke. Karl (“Groundhog Day”) has a unusual manner of creating Edward his personal: Every time he sings about Vivian, he channels Adams, and his vocals morph into marshmallow-y lite FM.
It takes guts to step into Roberts’ thigh-high boots, however Barks, late of the movie model of “Les Miserables,” sings the hell out of the half, particularly in her music of defiant reckoning, “I Can’t Go Again.” At occasions, she comes near overselling, however she all the time has you rooting for her.
One noteworthy theatrical tweak is merging a number of characters into one: A genial, gyrating Eric Anderson performs Vivian’s fairy godfather, who pops up in every single place — on the soiled boulevard, at the swank Beverly Wilshire Resort and even in the orchestra pit.
The present opens with a view of Los Angeles, seen from behind the iconic Hollywood signal. It’s an uncommon vantage level, hinting at recent angles and insights right into a dated story.
No such luck. “Fairly Lady: The Musical” is a singing rerun.