The stage welcomes “Pretty Woman”


Orfeh and cast member Eric Anderson at “Pretty Woman: The Musical” rehearsal. (Photo courtesy of Margie Korshak, INC)

A new musical is about to hit the Chicago theater scene, and it’s bound to elicit the memories of the ‘90s. “Pretty Woman: The Musical” is coming to the Oriental Theater on March 13, bringing the classic movie to the stage and telling the story in a brand new way: with music.

“Pretty Woman” is a new take on the 1990 classic romantic-comedy starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, which has been called a modern day retelling of Cinderella. The original plot follows a successful businessman (Gere) picking up a prostitute (Roberts) and convincing her to spend the weekend with him. The quirky pair form an eccentric duo that has kept audiences entranced nearly three decades after it first hit theaters. “Pretty Woman: The Musical” brings along new songs from Grammy Award winner Bryan Adams Jim Vallance, helping to rejuvenate the story in a completely new way.

The DePaulia got the chance to sit down with Orfeh, a seasoned broadway actress and Tony award nominee who plays Kit De Luca in the upcoming musical. She says she is excited to bring the energetic and lively best friend character from the screen to the stage.

“I really just think Kit’s an amazingly great character,” Orfeh said. “I have one of the best songs I’ve gotten to sing, even though I had a great time singing all the Janis Joplin songs …  this is probably my favorite song I’ve gotten to sing in a Broadway show this far. I’m having a really good time playing her.”

After leaving high school, Orfeh got a record deal and recorded albums and singles for a few years before finding out that her business manager hadn’t properly handled their finances. She left the record company and was soon approached by her former backup dancers about auditioning for the Broadway show “Footloose.” Since then, Orfeh’s career has been primarily in theater.

“Pretty Woman” isn’t Orfeh’s first time with turning movies into musicals. Her last Broadway appearance was in “Legally Blonde: The Musical” as Paulette, a character not too far off from her new role as Kit. The ability to take a fan-favorite and put it on the stage is one of her favorite things to do.

“I think with every experience, hopefully, you get a little bit better at what you do,” Orfeh said. “With anything, practice makes perfect, so I think you just gather a lot of experience, you forge your relationships, you are better at crafting a character – at times out of thin air.”

Orfeh was brought onto the project by director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell, whom she had previously worked with in “Legally Blonde.” Orfeh said when she got the call asking her to be part of the original musical, she knew she couldn’t turn it down.

“Jerry Mitchell calls and says ‘you’re gonna be in my next show,’ a couple years ago, and he says ‘there’s no one else I can picture singing this song, so come and do this reading’ and pretty much from then on I’ve been involved,” Orfeh said. “So really, I have Jerry Mitchell to thank for getting me into this performance.”

Working with the “all-around best cast I’ve ever worked with,” Orfeh looks forward to bringing the character of  Kit to life in the new show. The upcoming musical will have its worldwide debut on March 13 at the Oriental Theater, bringing years of hard work onto the stage for audiences to enjoy and sing along with.

“I want (audiences) to be uplifted. I want them to be surprised, because I don’t think people are going to leave with the expectations they came in with as far as it being a story about prostitutes,” Orfeh said. “It’s the most classic love story, you know. The prince isn’t rescuing Cinderella, though – it’s Cinderella rescuing the prince.”