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By Katie Arvia
CHICAGO, Ill. (August 7, 2022) – Making its pre-Broadway and world premiere in Chicago, the musical adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada is a fun spin on the iconic film and book of the same name. With an impressive cast, including Tony Award winner Beth Leavel as Miranda Priestly and Taylor Iman Jones as Andy Sachs, this new musical is jam-packed with original songs, beautiful set designs, and, of course, the hottest of couture.
Book, movie, musical
Based on the 2006 film starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway (which is based on a 2003 novel by Lauren Weisberger) The Devil Wears Prada tells the story of Andy Sachs, a new college grad searching for the opportunity to find her voice. Her search lands her in the office of Runway magazine editor-in-chief, the aforementioned “devil,” Miranda Priestly. After landing the job, Andy’s life is turned upside down as she juggles body shaming, an extremely demanding work schedule, an unsupportive group of friends and boyfriend, and the struggle to find her own happiness.
Although I have never read the book, the film version of The Devil Wears Prada is one of my favorite movies. I was thrilled to hear some of the film’s most quotable lines make it into the stage production (“Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking,” and the iconic “That’s all,” just to name a few). The musical was seamlessly updated for a 2022 production, with modern references and fashion choices.
The Devil Wears Prada features music by none other than Elton John, with lyrics by Shaina Taub. The show includes over a dozen new and catchy songs, including “Dress Your Way Up,” which is accompanied by one of the most beautiful (and fashionable) set designs I have ever seen.
Characters, changes for the stage
Although she can be considered an anti-hero, I found myself enamored by Megan Masako Haley’s portrayal of Emily Charlton, Andy’s coworker. Her hilarious lines and stunning costumes easily make Emily a favorite character, in addition to Javier Muñoz as Nigel Owens. Both brought wit and charm to the stage whenever they made an appearance.
While the musical stuck pretty close to the film adaptation’s storyline, one striking change was with Andy’s friend group and boyfriend. I appreciated that in the musical, they all realized they were being unsupportive of their friend and made changes to better their relationship with Andy, whereas in the movie, Andy is seen “making nice” with boyfriend Nate and there is no mention of what happens with her friends. I have made jokes with my friends that Nate is the true villain of the movie for not being supportive, but this small tweak changes everything.
I’m no fashion expert, but one small critique I have of The Devil Wears Prada is that some of the costumes were a bit lackluster, including Andy’s yellow dress she dons in Paris. I would’ve loved to see something a bit more over-the-top but can appreciate that the actors need to be able to sing and dance in their costumes (which they did impressively, considering the huge heels some of the women were wearing).
The Devil Wears Prada is an exciting and modern take that all Broadway lovers will enjoy. Be sure to catch it during its limited engagement at the James M. Nederlander Theatre in Chicago. The show runs through August 21; tickets range from $31-$126. For more information, visit broadwayinchicago.com.