‘The Devil Wears Prada’ musical makes key changes to the movie

It’s well known that the coveted, cutthroat magazine depicted in the novel The Devil Wears Prada is a thinly veiled Vogue where author Lauren Weisberger briefly worked as an assistant to longtime editor Anna Wintour. The 2006 film adaptation of Weisberger’s book grossed $326 million worldwide, largely for its voyeuristic setting: audiences could indulge in the excess and elitism of a widely revered style bible without actually reaching out to Miranda Priestly, the one Wintour-like character plays and humiliates employees with a bare pointed stare.

Indeed, working under Meryl Streep’s ice-cold editor, the film is simultaneously haunting and alluring; Watching Anne Hathaway’s Andy suffer during that hellish residency was only slightly less satisfying than seeing her thrive. “Although Weisberger’s novel obsessively focuses on every sharp word and scathing look her evil dragon lady boss ever gave her, the film lets us see what’s keeping her there,” wrote Carina Chocano in The Times review of the film.

A a lot of has changed in the years since Prada premiered: legacy magazines have stopped printing issues, social media has worn down the fashion industry’s gatekeepers, abusive bosses are regularly exposed and ousted, and even top editors don ugly sneakers Work. Producers of a Broadway musical “Prada” promised to introduce “an updated version of the popular story…to reflect the cultural and societal changes.” [since] redefining the world of fashion.”

Though the world premiere run in Chicago doesn’t address the industry’s moves toward racial inclusion or body diversity, it does wrestle with our world changed attitudes towards the workplace. Amid the death of the “Girl Boss” and the ongoing Great Resignation, the musical’s portrayal the changing attitude of people towards their work is very trendy right now. A toxic commitment to the office, previously glorified on screen and socially standardized, is explicitly denounced in its 2022 setting.

People on stage in a stylized office under the word "runway"

Taylor Iman Jones, left, Javier Muñoz, Beth Leavel and the cast of The Devil Wears Prada, The Musical.

(Joan Marcus)

With music by Elton John, lyrics by Shaina Taub and a book by Kate Wetherhead, this musical adaptation is very faithful to the popular film, but the story structure has been completely revised and specified more clearly. Played by Taylor Iman JonesAndy — previously written in book as an Ivy Leaguer and on screen as a Northwest alum — is now a distinguished UNC Chapel Hill graduate who has received prestigious writing grants and awards and dreams of becoming a Pulitzer Prize-winning essayist.

After being turned down by numerous New York media outlets, Andy receives a call from media conglomerate Elias-Clarke for an interview as soon as possible. She reckons the position with her dream title is City Dweller; the exhausted HR manager forgets to mention that it’s on Runway that Andy only read in her gynecologist’s waiting room.

Miranda (Beth Leavel) calls her a “Type A Gen Z feminist” who would rather write for “a liberal echo chamber.” Andy, with student loan debt and rent due, assures Miranda that “my voice can wait,” and touts her wits and work ethic to get the job.

Emily (Megan Masako Haley), Miranda’s devout first assistant and resident boss, then informs Andy that work-life balance isn’t an issue: “Eat, sleep and breath the job, except don’t sleep or eat,” sings you. “It’s all life or death, your day never ends.”

A woman seated at a desk looks up at a standing woman holding a corded phone headset to her ear.

Megan Masako Haley and Taylor Iman Jones in The Devil Wears Prada The Musical.

(Joan Marcus)

In contrast to the media companies from the very beginning, Runway’s parent company will only just break even in 2022 thanks to falling circulation and a lack of advertising revenue. And while Runway is slightly in the black, it’s still too expensive and Miranda is under pressure from the board to cut costs. (A manager’s mention of a six-figure re-recording that made him laugh on screen is now delivered as a swear word.)

Repositioning Runway in this way is crucial: when the magazine was a cash cow, virulent ambition and constant revision seemed the means to an end of success. But precisely in the face of dwindling profits and dwindling prestige, these exploitative strategies can seem like resource mismanagement.

Despite this, Andy vows to make an effort and prove that she can do the job, and soon impresses Miranda so much that she accompanies her boss to Paris Fashion Week. In fact, Andy is quite proud of herself (even if her friends and boyfriend aren’t) and expresses a complacency that can only be seen on screen through Hathaway’s soft smile.

“It’s more than just my wardrobe, I’m getting into my own,” she sings in a spectacular, dance-centric number, complete with multiple costume changes. “So watch me shine as I step further out of my comfort zone.”

A line of people dancing on stage under illuminated dresses

Javier Muñoz and the cast of The Devil Wears Prada, The Musical.

(Joan Marcus)

But Miranda’s cunning betrayal of creative director Nigel (Javier Muñoz) drives Andy to leave Runway behind for good. In the film, Andy makes this virtuous decision without much explanation; it “doesn’t feel quite triumphant. It smells like giving up,” Chocano wrote.

On stage, she makes the choice with today’s fluctuating values ​​of work in one’s life: the job title is not a final identity or a measure of intrinsic self-esteem, performing in an institution rich in tradition need not compromise integrity, and that on the other hand Climbing the corporate ladder may not be worth sacrificing sanity or overall well-being.

“Time to write a story about what my life could finally feel like / no selling my soul, no spiritual tribute, no hamster wheel,” she sings. “What if I truly believe / that what I am means more than what I achieve?” These are questions that have plagued many workers everywhere since the onset of the pandemic that marked the world premiere of “Prada” delayed by two years.

Although only a few texts have been examined, such moments of profound inwardness make the updated adaptation timely as ever. It would be far more effective if these issues were explored in more detail, as these scenes only scratch the surface of ongoing conversations about working in a capitalist system.

A woman with white hair hands her seated young assistant a piece of clothing across a desk.

Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada.

(Barry Wetter / 20th Century Fox)

The cast of the stage show, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, is visibly diverse, but some critics were disappointed that more real-world issues weren’t addressed directly: “While magazines like Vogue have recently acknowledged a lack of diversity, the musical never acknowledges it that anyone who is abused by Miranda, who is white, is a person of color,” it said New York Times review. Andy was specifically rewritten as a black character, and yet that fact is surprisingly left unaddressed after the first scenes of the series.

Other critics were dismayed by what was attempted on stage: “The appeal of the film was based on two basic human joys: to see beautiful people performing stunning fashion artistry and to watch people behave very badly, in a way , which the spectator would never dare,” says the Review of the Chicago Tribune. “It was absolutely not about learning any moral lessons.” As the customization continues to be adjusted for future runs, it will be interesting to see if it becomes overtly more current or more escapist; Pursuing both angles would only nullify both and confuse viewers more than amuse them.

Longtime fans of the film will notice the small details that have been tweaked throughout the musical: Andy’s Dolce & Gabbana spelling snafu is now a mispronunciation of Donatella Versace, her stunning Chanel boots are now red-bottomed Louboutins, her high T – Mobile Sidekick Alert is now an iPhone ringtone. Andy’s friend Nate isn’t brooding over her missing his birthday party, but his course’s debut in a special tasting menu; Handsome acquaintance Christian Thompson catches her attention just by lingering at her desk.

Miranda’s famous “Cerulean” speech has been updated with beauty trends, influencers and Instagram filters, and comes deliciously delivered with a makeshift Greek refrain in tow. It’s wise of the show to keep so many of Miranda’s most memorable lines verbatim, including “Florals? For the spring? Groundbreaking” and “Definitely move at an icy pace, you know how that excites me.”

And of course, whenever she makes a litany of demands of Andy, she backs them up with her signature, “That’s all.” Thankfully, that can’t be said of this stage adaptation.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-08-15/the-devil-wears-prada-musical-movie-changes-toxic-work-culture ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ musical makes key changes to the movie

Sarah Ridley

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