Julia Roberts Catches Broadway's 'Pretty Woman: The Musical' to Honor Director Garry Marshall

Julia Roberts revisited one of her iconic film roles on Thursday night, this time from the audience

Julia Roberts revisited one of her iconic film roles on Thursday night, this time from the audience!

The Oscar winner, 50, was among those in the star-studded crowd at Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre for a special performance of Pretty Woman: The Musical, the stage adaptation of the 1990 classic movie.

She was there for a special cause, too. The show was paying tribute to the film’s director Garry Marshall, who died in July 2016.

“Julia was super sweet to the cast backstage, and so so approachable and warm. Usually backstage meet and greets are quick, but Julia spent extensive time chatting with everyone and complimenting their performances,” a source tells PEOPLE.

Garry’s wife, Barbara Marshall, was there as well — walking the pre-show red carpet with Roberts.

Both were all smiles as they posed together, Barbara in a blue dress and Roberts in black leather pants, a black blazer and an orange graphic Laverne & Shirley T-shirt (a hat-tip to the 1976 sitcom Garry created). She carried a black clutch, and wore black strappy heels.

Garry Marshall Tribute performance of Pretty Woman : The Musical, New York, USA - 02 Aug 2018
Dave Allocca/Starpix/REX/Shutterstock

In the theater, Roberts was greeted by cheers from those in the orchestra as she made her way to her seat. The star adorably hushed the crowd, putting her finger up to her mouth with a smile.

She slipped out during intermission but returned right before Act II, where audience members this time stood to snap pictures.

At curtain call, Roberts was one of the first out of her seat to give the cast a standing ovation.

Roberts remained standing (and smiling) during the show’s special post-curtain speech, where producer Paula Wagner, the musical’s director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell, Garry’s son Scott Marshall, and Garry’s daughter Kathleen Marshall all honored the late director.

Other stars in the crowd were Joey McIntyre and Patrick Richwood, who played the Bellhop in Pretty Woman.

Ron Batzdorff/Touchstone Pictures

According to Scott, Garry had long dreamed of returning to Broadway again. His first play, The Roast, opened in May 1980 and closed three days later — its theater replaced by a new musical at the time called Cats.

Garry worked for a long time at transferring Pretty Woman to the stage, said Wagner, collaborating with original screenwriter J.F. Lawton on the musical’s book.

RELATED VIDEO: ‘Pretty Woman: The Musical’ to Open on Broadway in Fall 2018 With Music From Bryan Adams

He also put together the show’s creative team, including “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” singer Bryan Adams and his longtime songwriting partner, Jim Vallance — who wrote the musical’s score.

“I got to work with Garry for over a year on this musical adaptation and experienced firsthand his sense of humor, his joy, his uplifting attitude in life, and mostly his love for these characters,” Mitchell previously said in a statement. “I want that to infuse what I am doing with Pretty Woman: The Musical as he is the true heart of this story.”

Producers made sure his heart would always have a presence in the theater here forth, too. On Thursday, Mitchell announced a plaque with Garry’s name on it would be installed on the very seat he sat while watching his first Broadway show.

"Pretty Woman: The Musical" Honors The Late Garry Marshall
Bruce Glikas/WireImage
"Pretty Woman: The Musical" Honors The Late Garry Marshall
Bruce Glikas/WireImage

Pretty Woman tells the story of a sassy prostitute named Vivian (Roberts), whose chance encounter with ruthless businessman Edward (Richard Gere) leads to love story neither expected.

On stage, Samantha Barks steps into Vivian’s shoes. The British actress, 27, is making her Broadway debut in the role. She previously found fame as Éponine in the 2012 Les Misérables film.

By her side, as Edward, is Andy Karl, 44 — a three-time Tony nominee with credits in the musical versions of Groundhog Day, Rocky, Saturday Night Fever, and Legally Blonde: The Musical. (Karl’s wife, Orfeh, is also in the show, as Vivian’s BFF Kit).

After the show, both — and the rest of the Pretty Woman: The Musical cast — got to pose with Roberts backstage.

Pretty Woman: The Musical opens on Broadway Aug. 16.

Related Articles