'Pretty Woman: The Musical' hits Chicago stage next month

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"Pretty Woman: The Musical" opens at the Oriental Theatre on March 13. (WLS)

Nearly 30 years since the mega-hit "Pretty Woman," the musical version of the story is set to open at Chicago's Oriental Theatre.

"Pretty Woman: The Musical" is Chicago's next theater warm-up for Broadway, and will open to the public on March 13.

Julia Roberts and Richard Gere appeared in the original, but the musical roster is also quite impressive.

Director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell, a two-time Tony award winner, is at the helm of the musical. He has used Chicago as a try-out three times before for shows, including "Kinky Boots," "On Your Feet" and "Gotta Dance."

Mitchell said he's a Midwest guy, growing up two hours from Chicago, which is why he likes the city.

"I saw 'Chorus Line' at the Shubert Theatre. It was the beginning of my birth into the theatre," he said. "It's a comforting place to work."

Northwestern alum Kathleen Marshall stood in Monday for her late father Garry Marshall, who directed the original film and co-wrote on the musical version.

"He really wanted this to be a musical. He wanted to get this to Broadway. He had one show that did not do well. He just thought 'Pretty Woman,' they are characters that are so beloved," Marshall said of her father.

Samantha Barks, of the 2012 film version of "Les Miserable," will play the Julia Roberts' role of Vivian.

"It's an exciting challenge to put a little of yourself into and try out new things," Barks said.

Steve Kazee, winner of a 2012 Best Musical Actor Tony, will step into Richard Gere's shoes.

"I know that what we have is good. And the name 'Pretty Woman' itself is a hot. I mean the fact that once this show was introduced being done, it made worldwide press within seconds," Kazee said.
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