Rae Davenport’s favorite scene in “Pretty Woman: The Musical,” playing this weekend at The Playhouse on Rodney Square, involves her walking into a scene that shocks her into exclaiming “Oh, my God.”
She won’t give away which scene, but hints that the audience really enjoys the moment.
In a musical based on a 1990 movie about the romance between a prostitute played by Julia Roberts and a wealthy businessman played by Richard Gere, there’s so many scenes to speculate about.
Davenport, who plays Kit De Luca,the best friend and self-appointed protector of working girl and star Vivian, says the show is true to the story of the movie, but allows the audience to see more of the characters emotional life.
The musical, which ran for 13 months at the Nederlander Theatre on Broadway, isn’t a scene-for-scene carbon copy, but shifts the story and the action to put the emphasis on female empowerment and how Vivian takes charge of her own destiny.
In the movie, Kit is a white woman.
Davenport is not, one of many actors adding diversity to the cast.
She was born and raised in Detroit, Mich., and as a child wanted to be a pop star, a natural ambition for someone surrounded by the power and fame of Motown.
Creativity runs in her family.
Her dad is a graphic artist and her grandmother, Mary Turner, was a singer who talked about how she was thisclose to being signed by Motown.
But the notion of being a pop star faded when Davenport discovered the world of acting.
“I was like, Wait. There’s musicals where people act and sing at the same time. THAT’S what I need to do,” she said.
She headed off to Wayne State University, where she studied theater and media, then headed to New York City.
Davenport seems to get cast in roles with big voices and personality.
She’s played Ursula in “The Little Mermaid” and Deloris Van Cartier in “Sister Act” in regional theaters and Aragon in “Six,” a musical based on the wives of Henry VIII, aboard Norwegian Cruise Line ships.
She says she doesn’t remember when she realized that casting directors were steering her to roles were big personalities, but decided just to go with it.
Kit is a street-wise and sassy working girl who is best friends and roommates with Vivian.
One of her movie lines — “Take care of you” — became a song in the musical.
“Pretty Woman” is Davenport’s first national tour.
It’s made her, in a sense, homeless. She gave up her NYC apartment and put her belongings in storage for the nine months she expects to be on tour.
The stop at the Playhouse comes at the start of the tour.
Davenport has never been to Delaware and was looking forward to seeing Wilmington. She expects it to be watery, essentially, based on the rivers nearby.
“I love this musical,” she said. “It’s so fun and it really does stay true to the movie in a way that I think people are really going to enjoy. It’s all your favorite moments from the movie, but it’s also got these super great fun songs. The characters kind of pop out more. The music kind of shows more of the deeper feeling that each character is going through.”
If you go
“Pretty Woman: The Musical” plays at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14; and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15 at the Playhouse on Rodney Square, 1007 N. Market St., Wilmington. Tickets range from $45 to $84.25. Buy them at the theater box office, at www.BroadwayInWilmington.org or by calling 302-888-0200. The musical’s script was written by director Garry Marshall and screenwriter J. F. Lawton with an original score by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, who also did “Summer of ’69” and “Heaven.”
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
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