Pretty Woman, the Musical

Love Pretty Woman the Musical!

Samantha Barks was the perfect Vivian Ward. I had thought it’d be impossible to reinvent the role of Julia Roberts from the original movie, but Samantha gave the character an even more captivating personality. She was charming, lovable, playful at times, graceful when the occasion called for it, and yet retained the same allure of the original pretty woman. Bravos!

Andy Karl was amazing as Edward Lewis. I love the chemistry between the two leads. The attraction felt so natural, so genuine.

Also, major shoutouts to Eric Anderson as Happy Man and Mr. Thompson, whose roles gave the story so much extra excitement.

On the other hand, reflecting on the original movie from thirty years ago and what’s happening today…

As much as I loooove how Samantha brought out the most wonderful version of Vivian Ward that I could possibly think of, we still do live in a society where…

(1) Women are often valued for their beauty, style, grace, and smile. The movie/this musical reinforces that.

(2) Thirty years ago, Edward Lewis made his riches through ruthless financial schemes without “building anything” and without “making anything.”

Thirty years later, hedge fund managers are still ripping apart news rooms, hospitals, depressing working-class wages, while making $billions per day themselves. Meanwhile, the United States has lost much of its manufacturing capabilities, sending the country into a political crisis. So really, aside for paying $3,000 for a hooker’s time, what have the Edward Lewises contributed to the society, to their country, to their fellow citizens?

What have *WE* learnt in the past thirty years?

War Paint

Beautiful music, a great story, and lots of heavy thoughts.

The Musical

Strong performance by the two leading actresses, to pair with the story of two strong women who shattered glass ceilings in the 20th century. We understood who’s in charge tonight even before the curtain opened, when the announcer greeted us with “Welcome ladies! … and the men accompanying the ladies.”

The World Then

I’m ambivalent about the cosmetic industry, but the courageous stories of Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein shine through. Arden was deemed inferior to other women because “she worked.” Rubinstein was denied the purchase of her dream apartment for her gender. Despite heart-breaking moments in “Pink” and “Forever Beautiful”, here’s the advice from Elizabeth Arden to Miss Beam…

“You have the power to reinvent yourself and become anything you’d like to be. Young lady, better yourself to be the best you that you can. Once you better yourself, you won’t be taken for trash.”

The World Now

I consider myself a feminist, and have been for 20+ years. I pushed for curriculum changes in high school, to ensure the next generation understands gender equity. I physically battled anti-abortion protesters in college, to safeguard women’s rights to their own body. Yet, just when I thought we had finally made progress, America elected a sexual predator to its highest office.

Today, unrelated to the musical, I feared for my life for the first time. I was physically assaulted on the streets of Manhattan. A white man knocked me to the ground, kicked me, before he sped away in his Illinois-plated Mercedes-Benz. (I am bruised, swollen, monitoring for concussion but otherwise okay. Will press assault charges if/when police finds the man.)

I’m at a complete loss about the sexist, racist, free-for-all-I’ll-scorch-the-Earth-before-I-give-up-one-percent-of-my-entitlement mentality of the American Right. (And scorch the Earth they did yesterday, when their pedophile president pulled out of the Paris Agreement.)

No matter how much you try to better yourself, I guess, someone will always take you for trash.