Three-time Tony Award nominee Andy Karl, last seen on Broadway in Groundhog Day, has been cast as the male lead in the upcoming Pretty Woman: The Musical. He’ll play Edward Lewis (Richard Gere in the 1990 movie) opposite Samantha Barks’ Vivian (the role that made a superstar of Julia Roberts).
Karl, who won an Olivier Award for the London production of Groundhog Day and also starred in Broadway’s Saturday Night Fever, replaces Steve Kazee, who left the Pretty Woman production for family reasons, according to producers.
The new musical, which begins performances July 20 at the Nederlander Theatre, also stars Karl’s real-life wife Orfeh, a Tony nominee for Legally Blonde. Karl had seen the show in pre-Broadway workshops and the Chicago run.
“I always figured I’d be playing the part of ‘audience member’ for Pretty Woman,” Karl said. “When Paula Wagner and my longtime friend, Jerry Mitchell, asked if I would take over the role of ‘Edward’ it was a total surprise.
“Also, I was lucky enough to be friends with the great Garry Marshall, having worked with him before, and he created one of the most romantic stories of the 20th Century, so it didn’t take much arm twisting to get me to agree.”
“Andy Karl is one of the funniest and most heartwarming actors I have had the pleasure of directing,” said Mitchell, the musical’s director and choreographer. “He is an actor of great integrity and finds the humanity in the characters he portrays, plus he has an incredible voice.”
The production features original music and lyrics by Bryan Adams and his songwriting partner Jim Vallance, and a book by Garry Marshall and the film’s screenwriter J.F. Lawton. Following the July 20 preview date, the show officially opens August 16.
In addition to Groundhog Day, Karl’s credits include the 2019 indie film Faraway Eyes with Christina Ricci and Jeannie Berlin, and the lead in the ABC comedy pilot Staties for director Rob Bowman. He’s toured with Orfeh in concert (an album is planned for a fall release) and this weekend will appear in Boston opposite Brandon Victor Dixon and Laura Osnes in a semi-staged performance of On the Town with the Boston Pops.
He’s probably best known to TV audiences for his 2015-16 role as Sergeant Mike Dodds in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Also appearing in Pretty Woman will be Eric Anderson, Jason Danieley and and Kingsley Leggs, with a company of 25 that includes Allison Blackwell, Tommy Bracco, Brian Calì, Robby Clater, Jessica Crouch, Nico DeJesus, Anna Eilinsfeld, Matt Farcher, Lauren Lim Jackson, Renée Marino, Ellyn Marie Marsh, Jillian Mueller, Jake Odmark, Jennifer Sanchez, Matthew Stocke, Alex Michael Stoll, Alan Wiggins, Jesse Wildman and Darius Wright.
The musical premiered at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre in March 2018, and is based on the film about the unlikely romance between a Hollywood prostitute and New York corporate raider.
The Broadway staging is produced by Paula Wagner, Nice Productions, LPO, New Regency Productions, Caiola Productions & Co., James L. Nederlander, Roy Furman, Hunter Arnold, Graham Burke, Edward Walson, deRoy Kierstead, Michael Cassel Group, Stage Entertainment, Ambassador Theatre Group and John Gore Organization. 101 Productions, Ltd is the Executive Producer and General Manager.