The New York Post is reporting that plans are afoot to bring the 1990 Touchstone film to the stage as a musical. The film’s director, Garry Marshall is working with producer Paula Wagner to find creative personnel to adapt the film. Already on board is the film’s writer, J.F. Lawton, who will be writing the book for the musical.
The film focuses on a wealthy businessman named Edward (played by Richard Gere) who picks up prostitute Vivian (played by Julia Roberts) to act as his companion during his stay in Los Angeles. Over their period of time together, Edward teaches the lower class Vivian the joys of upper class society, and Vivian teaches Edward to loosen up and develop a soul. Naturally, they fall in love.
Touchstone is an Disney shingle, but it is not known if the studio is playing a hand in this stage adaptation. If they are, that would be an asset as the studio already has had good experiences bringing its animated fare to Broadway and owns a number of theaters to boot.
Of course, the road to success might be a little harder this time around. Being old enough to remember when the movie was released, I can tell you that 95% of the film’s success is due to Julia Roberts breakout, star-making performance and not its story. Unless they made a clone of her back then and spent the years since teaching it to sing, they are going to have a problem finding a lead.
Another problem is the music. The film had one of the most popular and best selling soundtracks of all time, full of a great mix of eclectic pop hits from the likes of David Bowie, Natalie Cole, Roxette, Go West and Red Hot Chili Peppers. However, getting all those songs for the musical would probably be a rights nightmare. I mean, you’d imagine that they will back up a Brink’s trunk to the Roy Orbison estate to nail down “Oh, Pretty Woman.” because, well, they’d have to. But the rest might not make it into the musical.