Orfeh (‘Pretty Woman: The Musical’) on ‘finding perfect balance’ in adapting iconic film roles for the stage [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

“I’ve kind of found this perfect balance” says Orfeh in regards to adapting roles from beloved films. The actress currently stars as Kit De Luca in “Pretty Woman: The Musical,” and has previously tackled film-to-stage adaptations like “Footloose,” “Saturday Night Fever,” and her Tony nominated turn as Paulette in “Legally Blonde.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.

That balance she says, involves blending her own signature style with aspects from the film that have become iconic. In this way she satisfies both Broadway diehards and the movie audiences who buy tickets based on the title alone. She refers to the audience as “the next character” in the show. In the rehearsal room, actors are performing for the creative team or producers. “They’re not going to give the reactions that a paying audience member is going to give” she says. So her performance truly comes alive when she is able to feed off of the direct feedback from ticket buyers.

Of course, one member of the creative team was the late Garry Marshall, the original film’s director. For the musical incarnation of “Pretty Woman,” Marshall helped write the book. Orfeh reminisces that “he really loved actors,” and that his attitude set the tone for the whole project. “He was exactly the person you think Garry Marshall was” she recalls, as she launches into a hysterical impersonation of Marshall’s voice. “I think Kit is Garry Marshall, actually!”

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Orfeh’s husband, Tony nominee Andy Karl also stars in the musical as Edward. But don’t plan on catching the Broadway power couple acting opposite one another. “We bow next to each other, that’s it” quips Orfeh. “I think its funny that we literally have zero stage time together.”

While Orfeh is belting and riffing to the heavens, Karl is busy romancing Samantha Barks’ Vivian. You won’t find any jealousy circling the wings of the Nederlander Theater though. When asked about having to make an entrance right after Karl and Barks share a love scene, she admits “I don’t even notice!”

However, the pair does see the opportunity to go to work together as “a gift.” Otherwise, they actually would see very little of each other. Perhaps this is why they’ve shared the stage so many times in the past (they met during “Saturday Night Fever” and Karl was Paulette’s sexy UPS man in “Legally Blonde”). This season, they have the chance to make Tony Awards history as the first couple to be nominated for the same musical. Orfeh notes that no one gets into the Broadway business for awards, but admits that it would be nice to do “all the awards ceremonies together.”

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