Hear Andy Karl Sing the Big, Romantic Opera Song From Pretty Woman: The Musical

Pretty Women: The Musical. Photo: Matthew Murphy

Even when made over into a stage musical, Pretty Woman retains many of the movie’s most memorable scenes. There’s the shopping spree on Rodeo Drive, the meet-cute between hot-shot businessman Edward and sex worker ingenue Vivian, and of course the trip to the opera, where the two see La Traviata and fall further in love. In the musical, a bit of the opera is sung onstage, while Edward expresses his passion by way of the rock ballad “You and I” written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. “I think ‘You and I’ stands up as good as any song they’ve written throughout the years,” Andy Karl, the musical’s Edward, told Vulture. “You could slap it on one of their albums from like 1990 and it would sound right in the pocket.”

From the perspective of the character, the song depicts a moment where Edward and Vivian connect on a level deeper than transaction. Vivian, played by Samantha Barks in the show, falls for the opera. Edward falls for her. “Edward truly enjoys his music,” Karl explained. “It’s just genuine love that he’s had since a child and seeing Vivian connect to it that much means so much to him.”

Karl came to the Broadway production late in the process, replacing Once’s Steve Kazee, who played Edward in Pretty Woman’s run in Chicago earlier this year and left due to family reasons. After starring in Groundhog Day, where tore his ACL days before the show opened, he had decided to take a break from theater — “It’s a big ordeal,” he admitted. Then, director Jerry Mitchell, who’d worked with Karl in Legally Blonde, called him personally. “It was very personal and meant a lot to me,” Karl said of Mitchell’s call. “Then I started connecting the dots. I worked with Garry Marshall years ago. He’s seen me in many, many shows. Now that he’s passed on I feel like this is something I can do for him after he gave so much to me.”

It helped seal the deal that Karl’s wife Orfeh was already in the show, playing Vivian’s friend Kit De Luca. Thanks to her, he had “a really kick ass rock singer” who could help him learn how to master a Bryan Adams melody, and a reason that he’d already seen the show as it was being developed. “I had this unique perspective of seeing the show first, as a fan,” Karl said, which made him imagine what he could bring to it without thinking he’d ever be in the part. “What would I do with this role?” Karl thought. “What does it need?”

So, once he said yes, Karl knew one thing was key: “I knew that Edward needed to have the finest of clothing.” With the blessing of producer Paula Wagner, who “gave us a nice budget,” Karl went shopping with costume designer Gregg Barnes. “I live near Wall Street, so I have a lot of these people walking by, so I know the guys who do billion-dollar deals,” he said. “From there, it was easier to associate how this guy holds himself. There’s a certain way you put down a very expensive suit. There’s a certain way you wear it.”

Hear the Romantic Opera Song From Pretty Woman: The Musical