February 15, 2024


Interview: Adam Du Plessis Talks Pretty Woman The Musical (Cosmic Cafe)

Hosted by

Brian Kitson
Interview: Adam Du Plessis Talks Pretty Woman The Musical (Cosmic Cafe)
The Cosmic Curtain
Interview: Adam Du Plessis Talks Pretty Woman The Musical (Cosmic Cafe)

Feb 15 2024 | 00:21:33


Show Notes

Remember the 90s classic rom-com Pretty Woman? It's a Cinderella story in its own right, as Julia Robert's character is whisked away into a life of luxury. Although, the transition comes with some challenges. This film was a staple in my home, as it was one of my mother's all-time favorites. So to see that Pretty Woman The Musical was finally making its way to Detroit is very exciting! While the show doesn't arrive until next week in my city, I was able to sit down via Zoom with Adam Du Plessis, who plays the role of Happy Man in the reimagined romantic comedy musical. 

In our conversation, Du Plessis talks about his journey to Pretty Woman the Musical, discussing his audition process, challenges for the role, and how Happy Man differs from other roles he's played in his career. He also discusses what a typical day on the road looks like for him, what he looks for in cities across the US when he tours, and what his dream Broadway role would be! 

Host: Brian Kitson

Theme: "Coffee and You" via Pixabay.

For more Broadway show reviews, interviews, and other coverage, visit: https://thecosmiccircus.com/tag/broadway/

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Welcome to the Cosmic Cafe, the companion podcast to thecosmicscircus.com. I'm Brian Kitson, and we have an exciting interview for you today. Pretty Woman, the musical, is currently playing across the US on its north american tour, and I had the chance to speak with Adam duplesi, who plays happy man. Duplesi explores his time in the production from audition to now, how the role differs from other productions he's been a part of, and what his dream Broadway role would be. Enjoy. [00:00:33] Speaker B: Hey there, Adam. Thank you so much for joining us today. [00:00:35] Speaker C: Thanks for having me. [00:00:38] Speaker B: So we haven't got a chance to see the play yet, but I'm really excited to be able to check this out next week. Can you tell me a little bit about your role in Pretty Woman? I know that you're playing happy man. What is this role to you? [00:00:52] Speaker C: Well, so if for anybody who's seen the original movie, what they've done is that they've done their best to take exactly what was on screen and put it on stage. But how they've facilitated that is that they've taken my character, happy man, where, if you remember the movie at all, right? In the beginning, they were showing scenes of the streets of Hollywood, Streets of LA, and there was a guy walking around going, welcome to Hollywood. What's your dream? And he was listed in the credits as happy man. So what they've done is that they've taken that character, happy man, that was only on screen for all of maybe 10 seconds, and that they've created this fairy godfather type of narrator who is kind of the bridge that they used to translate this from the screen to the stage, and he interacts with the audience and basically guides the story along for them. For the audience. [00:01:57] Speaker B: Okay, so kind of like the interface between the audience and what's going on on stage. [00:02:02] Speaker C: Exactly, yeah. [00:02:04] Speaker B: And that's kind of a different kind of role than maybe we would see from a lot of traditional musicals, because as someone who goes to theater, often it's kind of happening on stage, and we're not always a part of that. What is that experience for you, interacting a little bit more with the audience? [00:02:20] Speaker C: It's wonderful. As performers, we tend to branch out into a lot of different disciplines, a lot of different areas of performance throughout our careers. So I've had experience in hosting and mcing events, and what this role has has incorporated a little bit of that experience that I've had in the past. While it's not a constant interaction with the audience, there's always this kind of, like, twinkle in the eye that are you following along? This is what's happening. Remember this from the movie, that type of idea. Because of my fairy Godfather type of character, I also tend to appear in a lot of different areas, a lot of different roles. So that's some of the fun that the audience can experience, is that you see where I pop up throughout the show and it's always like a little bit of an in joke for us between me and the audience, and it's a wonderful go between and it allows you to really engage with the audience and feed off their energy. [00:03:39] Speaker B: As you say, it sounds more like from an audience perspective, that sounds a different way to interact with it and to enjoy it instead of just seeing this beloved rom.com on stage. [00:03:50] Speaker C: Exactly. [00:03:51] Speaker B: Was there any pressure for you knowing that this was such a beloved romcom? I know I grew up watching this with my mom. It was one of her favorites. Was there any pressure from that aspect? [00:04:00] Speaker C: Yeah. These days there is a lot of movies that are being taken to the stage, so there are a lot of adaptations that are happening. But to be honest, it would be hard to top this one. Pretty Woman is so iconic and so nostalgic for so many people, my generation, my sister's generation, it would be hard pressed to find people who didn't list pretty woman as in one of their top ten all time favorite movies. So, yeah, there's definitely a lot of pressure in terms of taking that iconic film piece of cinema that people is such a part of their history in terms of entertainment and redoing it in such a different way while still staying true to the original. So, yeah, there is a lot of pressure. However, I think that through the music of Brian Adams, which is so interesting because he is like 90s rock star all the way. So to pair that with this 90s romcom movie was such a clever move. And then having Jerry Mitchell come on board and what he does is he very much brings to life the stories that you see on the screen and makes it pop out for an audience. So it's been very well constructed and it becomes this kind of like seamless transition onto stage and this machine that just works so very well for audiences. [00:05:46] Speaker B: I mean, it's awesome, too, that people are going to get to see these iconic scenes, but it sounds like they've changed a little bit, especially with your role, creating this role in a way that is different. So there's something new to appreciate about this. [00:06:00] Speaker C: Absolutely. I think if they had tried to do the movie 100% exactly the same without songs, without dancing, without anything, it wouldn't be successful because what would the point be? So adding all these different elements with the singing, the dancing, and then fleshing out some of the side characters and then creating new characters all work towards making this a very kind of, like, well rounded, enjoyable production from the get go. I think that's the biggest thing I can say about the show, is that you'd be hard pressed to not enjoy yourself when you go and see the show. It's a show. It's a performance that just brings joy. And it's wonderful to be on stage and experience the audience experiencing joy. It's such a wonderful feeling for us that at the end of the show, when everybody is applauding and just showing their appreciation, it is a magical experience for us. [00:07:07] Speaker B: Awesome. So what was the audition process for you to get this role? How did it go for you? [00:07:13] Speaker C: Well, what they've done, which is something that has happened in recent years, especially since the pandemic, is that casting directors have become more open to accepting initial tapes, which is wonderful for us because a lot of us who are on the road with a show like this, if we're not in New York for the auditions, sometimes we just miss. So what they've become more receptive to is we'll film an audition and then send it through to the casting director, and the casting director will take all the submissions and go through, and from there, they'll pull people and they'll send the material from the show. And then you'll film that, and you send that in. And then for the final callbacks you have in person. So I was actually on the road with the national tour of Tootsie when I auditioned for this. And the final callbacks happened to fall quite perfectly in one of my layoffs from. So I was in Salt Lake City. I had to fly through to New York, get into a hotel room for two days, and then go in front of the director, D. B. Barnes, the choreographer, Rusty Maori, and the musical director. And we had to audition for them. They called us back again, learned a little bit of the dancing, learned the singing, and that was for me, for the Edward and Vivian. Then they started pairing people up to see what chemistry they had together, of course, which is really important with a show like this. And then the dancers had a different journey. I mean, some people, we have people in our cast who understudy, like, five different roles. So you can imagine that their audition process is extraordinarily difficult because they've got to learn material from all those five different roles. So it is quite a process, and it's quite a stressful process, but it's part of this industry, it's part of this job. It's something that we have to go through, and fortunately, it worked out. [00:09:33] Speaker B: So how long ago did you find out, like, you got the role compared to now you're touring? Is it years? [00:09:40] Speaker C: No, not years. I auditioned for this in March of 2023. I think I found out in May, early May. The initial audition was in March, then all through April, we started sending in tapes. And then in May is when I found out officially that I had it. I got it. And then we started rehearsals in early September, and we rehearsed for three weeks in the rehearsal room, and then went and transitioned into a theater. And we teched the show for about ten or twelve days, and then we opened up in Utica, New York, and we've been on the road ever since. I think we are in about 110th show by now. So we've been doing it for a while now. [00:10:36] Speaker B: Wow, that's a fast turnaround. Faster than I thought in my head, I guess. So what have been maybe some challenges for you about playing happy man? [00:10:47] Speaker C: Oh, playing happy man. Happy man is without a doubt, one of the most difficult roles I've ever had to play. But saying that, it is also, without a doubt, the most enjoyable roles I've ever had to Vivian. Ellie Baker, who plays Vivian. She's on stage more than I think. Yes. No, she's definitely on stage more than me. But apart from that, I'm the person that's on stage the most. And then, obviously, Edward as. So it involves a lot of stamina, a lot of fitness, a lot of quick change, a lot of water, a lot of hot tea. This role specifically stretches all through a whole bunch of different styles of musical theater and performance. So you have to have quite a broad base, from the dancing to the singing to the acting and all the different styles within that. But again, just to reiterate, it is one of, if not the most enjoyable role I've ever had to play. [00:12:04] Speaker B: So it sounds like you're going from start to finish without fail. [00:12:08] Speaker C: Yes, absolutely. In every city, we have a wardrobe team, and I have a dresser who is waiting on the side of the stage with a little bottle of water and a little towel. For me, every time I run off stage, I'm like, okay, I'm ready. Okay, I can go again. It's quite an exhausting but enjoyable experience. Exertive, let's put it that way, an exertive experience. You cannot walk your way through this role, you have to be fully energetic the entire time. [00:12:47] Speaker B: Did you know that before going into the role, or was that kind of like a surprise as you were learning it? [00:12:52] Speaker C: It was a surprise. Interestingly, I had seen the show. I'd seen the show in Chicago, and that was pre Broadway. I was on the road with kinky boots at the time, and we were near Chicago, so a bunch of us made a little trip through to see the show. And that was a long time ago. That was in 2018. So, I mean, my memories faded and everything like that. And also since then, the show as a whole has changed and adapted and been trimmed and fine tuned. So the role has changed since then. And I wouldn't be able to say whether it's busier or not or whether he does more now or not, I'm not sure, but it didn't hit me when I watched it, how busy it was going to be for me. So when I arrived, I saw the material and I was like, okay, that looks durable. And then I started doing it, and I was, oh, I need to start going to the gym. [00:13:55] Speaker B: Okay. It's always good to have the cardio. [00:13:59] Speaker C: Absolutely. And when we get into high elevations, we played Colorado Springs, and we've just come from Reno, which is, Reno is not even really that high up. But when you're dealing with different elevation, oh, sometimes it's hard to catch your breath when you're used to performing at sea level. I mean, I know that obviously, to a much greater extent, a lot of professional athletes have to adjust to different elevations and everything like that. And that's something that all of us have to deal with as well. Because as much as we're running around changing and dancing and everything like that, we're singing on top of that. And you can't afford to be out of breath when you're singing because the song and the words and the melodies still have to get across. So it does make it incredibly challenging. [00:14:46] Speaker B: Completely understandable. So what does a typical show day kind of look for you? Or even like a double show day? Because I know some days you have two shows. [00:14:54] Speaker C: So a single show day is glorious. We all love a single show day, because if we're not traveling on that day, because, say, for yesterday, for example, we got up in the morning, and by 645, we were loading up the bus in Reno, at our hotel in Reno, and we got on the bus and we drove through from Reno to Fresno, and we arrived at 230 at the hotel. And by 04:00 we were back on the bus to go through to the theaters to start doing sound check and meetings and everything like that to get the show up that night. So those days are particularly difficult when we travel into a show. But today, for example, we have a show tonight at 730 and so we get to wake up at our own leisure, go and have breakfast, have a lovely cup of coffee, and then we just get to explore the cities that we're in. Which is actually one of the most exciting things about tour is that we get to see the country, which is amazing. But then once we've had our day, we generally arrive through to work anywhere from 2 hours to half an hour before the show, depending on how much time you need to get ready. But we all will be in the building by half an hour before the show because then everybody gets together and then we run the show on a double show day. Those are a little bit tricky. That's when you wake up in the morning, you have your coffee and you like go okay, ready. I've got two of these to get through and you have something to eat and you get ready. And then in between the shows you go and get something that is not too heavy because you don't want to do a show on a heavy pasta dish or like tons of pizza. But yeah, those are our weekends. We're going to be in Detroit, obviously, and Detroit's very exciting for us because that's going to be one of our week. We have. We're there for the entire week, which means that Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we have the whole days free to go and explore Detroit. And we've got people who go on hikes, we've got people who love going shopping, obviously we've got coffee. I'm a bit of a coffee snob myself, so I try and find out local coffee shops and coffee roasteries especially. I love local roasters. And we'll buy beans and then take them with us because we have our little coffee set up in our room. And then of course after the show we also deal with going to find like a whiskey bar or a tiki bar. So we have our little routines in every city that we find. We try and find something that brings us joy, something that is exciting and new for us. And Detroit specifically is also quite exciting as well because Ray, who plays kit in the show, she's actually from Detroit, so she's up for ages. So she's very excited to show us around. And she's got a lot of friends and family coming through, which is always exciting. So yeah, our days are busy but. [00:18:11] Speaker B: Know this is your actual fourth Us national tour. Is this your first time in Detroit? [00:18:16] Speaker C: No, I've been to Detroit twice, actually. I was there with Annie in 2016 or 17 and then with Kinky Boots as well. But the last time I was there was in 2018, which was quite a while ago. And I remember Detroit, downtown Detroit, seemed to be going through quite the renewal project when I was there, but there were little pockets that were really amazing already. And I can't wait because now we're six years on, I can't wait to go and explore it again and see, because there were some fantastic restaurants I can't for the life of me remember. But as soon as I get there, I'll go, oh, I remember that one. I love going back to cities to see what has changed and how things are different. So, yeah, it's going to be very exciting. [00:19:10] Speaker B: I hope that you had the most fun here. Detroit has a lot to offer. You're right. We've gone through a renaissance recently, so it's good to have people come and explore that. Before I let you go, I got to know, though, is there ever, like a dream role that you've had that you've always wanted to play or a certain show that you've always wanted to do that you haven't done yet? Because you've done so many. I mean, cats and family opera, Tootsie, kinky Boots. I mean, there's so many. When I saw your list, I was like, wow, he's been in a. [00:19:36] Speaker C: Yes. Yeah, I've been very fortunate. I've done a lot of really wonderful theater, wonderful shows. I would say off the top of my head, there are two kind of like things. One is I've never done lemurs, and I would love to do Lehmers. And then on the other side of that, pretty much anything from. So, I mean, I would just adore being in sweeney tod. Sweeney tod would just be one of the most fantastic achievements just to sing the opening of sweeney tod. To be honest, the attend the tale of sweeney tod just is one of the most thrilling pieces of those. Those two. I would say Lemur's on this side because, oh, what a beautiful, classic piece of true musical theater. And then any other sondheim stuff, just because that fills all my inner theater, not even inner my theater nerd musical theater nerdness, my geek. Because sondheim is kind of, like, on a pedestal for all of us, and rightly so. [00:20:48] Speaker B: I had just gone to New York in December and saw sweeney tod, and that opening song gave me chills. [00:20:55] Speaker C: Yes, doesn't it? It's amazing that when everybody starts singing together, it is so thrilling. [00:21:03] Speaker B: Thank you so much for your time, adam. It's been a pleasure talking to you, and I look forward to seeing you next week when you're in Detroit. Continue putting on a great show and I'm so excited to see it. [00:21:14] Speaker C: Thank you. Thanks so much for having me. [00:21:16] Speaker B: Take care. [00:21:17] Speaker C: Okay, bye bye. [00:21:18] Speaker A: Thank you for listening to this episode of the Cosmic Cafe. You can find the companion article for this podcast along with all the other news for those who like superheroes, science fiction and fantasy films, tv shows and other [email protected]. Have a great day.

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