City Paper is not for tourists
Lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe definitely loved makeovers. In classic musicals like My Fair Lady, the pair told romantic and comedic stories about what happens when wealthy men facilitate Queer Eye for the Straight Guy-style transformations for lower-class or just-plain-crass women. In Gigi, one such rich dude realizes that the young tomboy and courtesan-in-training whose family he visits for kicks might actually be the lady of his dreams. The Oscar-winning film version debuted in 1958 and featured a sparkly-eyed Maurice Chevalier crooning “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” in a silky tone that somehow didn’t sound the creeper alarm for audiences. Still, the stage musical never quite hit its stride. The Kennedy Center aims to revive it by hosting an out-of-town trial for a new Gigi adaptation before it opens on Broadway, with an updated book by TV writer Heidi Thomas and direction by Signature Theatre’s Eric Schaeffer. High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens landed the title role; since the film series ended, she’s tried to shake off her Disney bona fides with naughtier fare, so playing an ingénue that’s also training to be a prostitute lands solidly in her wheelhouse. The musical runs Jan. 16 to Feb. 12 at the Kennedy Center Opera House, 2700 F St. NW. $45–$145. (202) 467-4600. kennedy-center.org.