On Thursday, August 2, Julia Roberts (and roughly 1,200 other people — but mostly Julia Roberts) braved the steamy city summer to attend a Garry Marshall Tribute Performance of Pretty Woman: The Musical. Broadway Spin was there. We sat two rows ahead of Roberts and she smiled at us (or we think she smiled at us). And that means we were friends, maybe, for one second.
Roberts came to pay homage to her former director, the iconic Garry Marshall. It turns out that Marshall — who was responsible for not only Pretty Woman, but also Happy Days, Beaches, and The Princess Diaries plus a zillion other shows and movies none of us could live without — fell in love with theater long before Hollywood. His son, Scott Marshall, told the audience that Garry used to attend Broadway shows in the nosebleed seats because his family couldn’t afford to be closer to the action.
Producer Paula Wagner added, “Garry Marshall’s dream was to bring Pretty Woman to Broadway, and now that dream has come true.” Pretty Woman: The Musical‘s director and choreographer, Jerry Mitchell, noted that he was “honored” that Garry had entrusted him to “bring this great romance to the stage.” Mitchell expressed his gratitude to the cast — led by Andy Karl as the cutthroat Edward Lewis and Samantha Barks as the charming Vivian Ward — noting, “Every night that we come on stage to do this musical, Garry is here.”
Roberts was absolutely beaming as Mitchell revealed that a plaque had been added to honor Marshall where he used to sit — in the way, way back of the house. “To make sure that our beloved Garry always has a place to sit in the gorgeous Nederlander Theatre, a plaque has been made designating the seat where Garry fell in love with theater,” the eight-time Tony winner explained. The actual plaque reads: In honor of Garry Marshall – Pretty Woman the Musical: Never give up on a dream. We didn’t, and then one day Julia Roberts smiled at us.
Pretty Woman: The Musical officially opens on August 16th and tickets are in play through Broadway Roulette.