Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08



THEATER Michael Dalke makes Pretty Woman: The Musical happy and gay
by Jerry Nunn

This article shared 678 times since Sat Dec 4, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

The fairy-tale story of Pretty Woman was brought to life as a musical by openly gay theater director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell in 2018. He debuted the original production of Pretty Woman: The Musical premiered in Chicago at that time and has now revamped the show with a brief stop on tour in the Windy City in 2021.

The stage show is based on the hit 1990 film Pretty Woman that starred Richard Gere as the wealthy Edward Lewis and Julia Roberts as a prostitute named Vivian Ward. The story followed their romance together onscreen and made Roberts a household name in the process. The musical has many of the same elements that made the movie such a gem.

Out performer Michael Dalke is part of the touring ensemble and understudies several roles as the character Happy Man. Past stage roles for Dalke have included playing the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, Orin in Little Shop of Horrors and Curly in Oklahoma! Dalke talked by phone while out on the road touring.

Windy City Times: Where in the world are you, Michael?

Michael Dalke: We are in Buffalo. We are driving to Rochester [New York] after that, and then Chicago.

WCT: I saw your history in Oklahoma and I was born in Oklahoma City.

MD: I was born in Oklahoma City, too! I grew up in Norman and I went to school in Edmond.

I am staying on this tour until August because our last two cities are in Oklahoma, so I can stomp the boards that I stomped in college!

WCT: How did you become involved with Pretty Woman: The Musical?

MD: I moved to New York right after college and then moved to LA for nine years doing camera work, then moved back to New York five years ago to focus on theater. This role came right after Jerry Mitchell saw my tape. I had seen him at Fire Island just passing by his house.

WCT: Were you in his bushes stalking him?

MD: [Laughs] No; he opened his door looking for his cat and I was with my friends walking by. We helped him look for the cat and, later, my friends told me who he was. Two weeks after that, I auditioned and got the role. It was pretty crazy!

WCT: Who are you playing in Pretty Woman: The Musical?

MD: I am covering the Happy Man role. It is a small part in the movie but is expanded for the musical. Basically, he is a narrator or story weaver of the show. He describes himself as, "Hollywood Boulevard's Fairy Godfather." He is similar to Billy Porter in the latest Cinderella movie. Mr. Thompson was part of that in the movie version of Pretty Woman and guided her. It is part of five different characters, such as the conductor in the opera and Mr. Thompson.

WCT: Do you run around playing all these parts?

MD: Yes, I run around like crazy and it has been a lot to learn. I am always in the ensemble and covering the Happy Man role at times.

WCT: Samantha Barks, who played the Julia Roberts part, told me she would be different than Julia Roberts onstage but was in fact just like Julia after I saw it. Are you able to distance yourself from the movie version of Mr. Thompson?

MD: Yes, Jerry Mitchell has made the choreography and lines different from that. He invents it new every time in all the various productions. He did that for the London and German productions as well. Olivia Valli, who plays the Vivian Ward part in this, is like Fanny Brice and is completely different than Julia Roberts. She is funny, kooky and silly. It is charming and fun!

WCT: Why do you think gay audiences will like Pretty Woman: The Musical when it is a straight love story?

MD: First of all, Jerry Mitchell is in charge of it, so there are fabulous dresses and makeup. There's a song called "Rodeo Drive" and all of the female-identifying members of the cast come out wearing Chanel studded bras. There is a gorgeous Pucci dress from the '90s. The costume designer, Gregg Barnes, had a lot of fun doing all of the Rodeo Drive outfits.

Vivian is a strong woman that I always identified with as a gay man growing up. Vivian is constantly who she is from the start and doesn't change no matter what happens. There's a line where she says to the Edward character," I know who I am. I was just a little confused on who you were." I love that line because it is an empowering statement.

Her character changes the world around her but doesn't change herself. That is inspiring to me as a gay man because coming out at age 14 in Oklahoma was not easy. The world was constantly telling me I should be something other than what I was at the time.

WCT: Did you watch The Movies That Made Us documentary on Netflix about Pretty Woman?

MD: I watched it on a plane just a few weeks ago. I enjoyed it. Gary Marshall's wife and daughter have been with us since we started the rehearsal process. Barbara Marshall, as we saw in The Movies That Made Us, came up with the kissing is too intimate idea.

The Pretty Woman movie has had such an impact on many of the people that come to see the musical. I didn't know so many people in the audience would connect with it. That is something that Jerry told us about, especially the "Pretty Woman" song at the curtain call. Everyone sings and claps along.

WCT: The show definitely has a built-in fanbase.

MD: It does and doesn't disappoint. It gives you all the things from the movie that you want to see, like her in the red dress going to the opera and the snapping box. Adam Pascal and Olivia Valli do it in a unique way that is all their own. I am not just saying that. I got to sit out and watch it!

We serve the audience so much. There are amazing dancers in the show and the opera singer is just incredible. There are many unexpected things to see in the musical Pretty Woman.

WCT: Has Julia Roberts seen the musical version yet?

MD: She went to the premiere in New York on Broadway. She hasn't seen the tour yet or we would have heard about it. Maybe when we get to LA!

WCT: When does Runaway Bride: The Musical come out?

MD: [laughs] I'm not sure, but as long as I get to play the Runaway Bride, I am here for it!

Pretty Woman: The Musical will run at the CIBC Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St. on Dec. 14-19. Book tickets at before the show moves on.

This article shared 678 times since Sat Dec 4, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

THEATER Red Orchid's 'The Moors' running through Feb. 27 2022-01-15
- A Red Orchid Theatre is running Jen Silverman's The Moors, directed by Artistic Director and Ensemble Member Kirsten Fitzgerald, through Feb. 27 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St. The plot is as follows: ...

Gay News

THEATER About Face announces cast of queer-themed 'Laced' 2022-01-14
- About Face Theatre begins its 27th season with the world premiere of Samantha Mueller's drama Laced, running March 17-April 16 at the Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Set in the aftermath of the vandalism of ...

Gay News

Black Ensemble Theatre announces 2022 Season of Excellence: The Season of Healings 2022-01-14
-- From a press release - Chicago, IL—Black Ensemble Theater's Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor announces its 2022 Season of Excellence: The Season of Healings. The 2022 Season includes four World Premiere musicals showcasing the power ...

Gay News

THEATER DuSable, puppet company to run Toni Morrison's 'The Bluest Eye' 2022-01-13
- The DuSable Museum of African American History is partnering with the 4th Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival to present a production of The Bluest Eye, based on Toni Morrison's 1970 groundbreaking coming-of-age novel. The production will ...

Gay News

THEATER 'This Is Only a Test' Feb. 11-March 12 2022-01-12
- Broken Nose Theatre, a pay-what-you-can theater company, is welcoming back live audiences this winter with the world premiere of Eric Reyes Loo's drama This Is Only a Test, directed by Toma Tavares Langston. The production will ...

Gay News

THEATER Queer-themed 'Queen of the Night' to run Jan. 29-March 13 2022-01-11
- Victory Gardens Theater is slated to open its 2021-22 Mainstage Season with Queen of the Night, written by travis tate and directed by Victory Gardens Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin. Queen of the Night features Terry Guest ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Mary Rose' running through Feb. 12 2022-01-10
- Black Button Eyes (BBE) Productions is concluding its 2021-22 season with the world-premiere musical Mary Rose, featuring book and lyrics by Producing Artistic Director Ed Rutherford, music and lyrics by Jeff Bouthiette, direction by Ed Rutherford ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Queens of Infinite Space' canceled because of COVID 2022-01-07
- With the increase in COVID-19 cases in Chicago and beyond, Proboscis Theatre has decided to cancel the performances of The Queens of Infinite Space set to run at Epiphany Center for Arts, 201 S. Ashland Ave., ...

Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf delays '1919' premiere due to COVID 2022-01-07
- Due to the COVID-19 surge driven by the Omicron variant, and out of an abundance of caution for public health, Steppenwolf Theatre Company has postponed its Steppenwolf for Young Adults world-premiere adaptation of Eve L. Ewing's ...

Gay News

Mercury Theater Chicago announces casting and artists for 'Women of Soul' 2022-01-06
--From a press release - Chicago —Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter, Managing Director Shane Murray-Corcoran, and Executive Producers Walter Stearns and Eugene Dizonannounce the cast and creative team for the next Mainstage production of the ...

Gay News

THEATER Trans performer Sis is doin' fine in 'Oklahoma!' 2022-01-05
- This isn't your typical grandma's Oklahoma! The very first musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein opened on Broadway in 1943 and continues to captivate audiences today. The dialogue remains the same, but updated casting choices have ...

Gay News

COVID Raven Theatre cancels production of 'Beautiful Thing' 2022-01-05
- Raven Theatre announced it will cancel its upcoming production of Beautiful Thing due to the current surge of the COVID Omicron variant. The production, written by Jonathan Harvey and directed by Mikael Burke, was slated to ...

Gay News

ATTRACTIONS 'Dr. Seuss' extended through Jan. 23 2022-01-05
- The Dr. Seuss Experience—the immersive spectacle that gives guests of all ages the opportunity to journey through nine different Dr. Seuss books—will now take place on Saturdays and Sundays through Sunday, Jan. 23. The attraction is ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Winnie the Pooh' running March 15-June 12 2022-01-05
- After its run in New York City, Jonathan Rockefeller's Disney's Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation will arrive in Chicago on March 15 and will run through June 12 at the Mercury Theatre Chicago, ...

Gay News

Theatre Above the Law to run 'Chernobyl' on Feb. 3-27 2022-01-04
- Theatre Above the Law, a member of the League of Chicago Theatres, will stage its world premiere of Ghosts of Chernobyl on Feb. 3-27 at 1439 W. Jarvis Ave. The production was originally slated to run ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.