By Jackie Moe
Donning the iconic knee-high boots and curve-hugging mini dress, rising Broadway star Olivia Valli lights up the stage in the successful film-to-musical adaptation “Pretty Woman.”
Valli, granddaughter of Four Seasons frontman Frankie Valli, stars as the leading lady Vivian, famously portrayed by Julia Roberts in the 1990 romance film. The tour just had a three-week stop at the Hollywood Dolby Theater, before making its way to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa through July 17.
Valli shared her excitement for her first time performing in the lead role, her love for the musical’s fun fashion, and her favorite tour memories so far.
What does it mean to you to make your leading lady debut as Vivian?
It’s really special to me. I have always wanted to be a leading lady and to play a character that is so loved and so memorable makes it even more special. Vivian and I are similar in a lot of ways so I feel like this role is a great way to introduce me into the theatre world.
How have you made this role your own?
My Vivian is strong and a little more modern. She has a Jersey girl flair and definitely has more comedy to her. I’m in a Jerry Mitchell musical so in some ways it’s more theatrical but at the heart of it I wanted to make sure that she is an underdog who finally gets her well-deserved chance at a better life.
What has been your most treasured moment with the tour so far?
Making incredible friends who I will carry with me for life. I didn’t expect to on tour because sometimes you just hang out with people to survive but I have made some of the best friends I could ever ask for.
What challenges have you faced in this role?
Definitely how to be consistent in the role and show up every single day. Sometimes if I’m having a bad mental health day I still show up for the show so it’s learning to separate my personal feelings from the show. It’s also been a learning curve to advocate for myself. I didn’t want to seem like a diva because I was asking for things since I’m a young leading lady but I’ve learned that people want to help and it’s okay to set firm boundaries with people and still be kind.
What elements make this production particularly special?
The costumes. It’s so much fun to be in these iconic costumes and see the nostalgia on people’s faces.
What is your favorite number to perform in “Pretty Woman”?
“Anywhere But Here” and “I Can’t Go Back”. They are just IT. I love to belt them and have so much fun and round out Vivian’s story.
One of the most iconic elements of both the film and Broadway show is Vivian’s fashion. What is your favorite outfit?
It’s actually the white jumpsuit at the end of the show. It’s the only costume we don’t see from the movie and it feels refreshing to wear something completely new.
‘Pretty Woman: The Musical’
Where: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr, Costa Mesa, CA
When: July 5-17, 2022
More info: scfta.org