‘The Devil Wears Prada’ musical makes key adjustments to the film

It’s widespread information that the coveted, cutthroat journal depicted within the novel “The Devil Wears Prada” is a thinly veiled Vogue, the place writer Lauren Weisberger briefly labored as an assistant to longtime editor Anna Wintour. The 2006 movie adaptation of Weisberger’s e-book went on to gross $326 million worldwide largely due to its voyeuristic framing: Audiences might indulge within the extra and elitism of a broadly worshiped fashion bible with out truly reporting to Miranda Priestly, who performs a Wintour-esque character and degrades staff with a mere pointed look.

In truth, the film made working beneath Meryl Streep’s ice-cold editor appear concurrently agonizing and alluring; watching Anne Hathaway’s Andy endure in that hellish assistantship was solely barely much less satisfying than seeing her succeed. “If Weisberger’s novel focuses obsessively on every sharp word and withering glance her evil dragon-lady boss ever threw her way, the movie lets us in on what keeps her there,” wrote Carina Chocano in The Instances’ assessment of the film.

A lot has modified within the years since “Prada’’ premiered: Legacy magazines have stopped printing issues, social media has worn down the fashion industry’s gatekeeping, abusive bosses are regularly exposed and ousted, and even top editors wear ugly sneakers to work. Producers of a Broadway-bound musical “Prada” promised to current “an updated version of the much-loved tale … to reflect the cultural and societal changes that have [since] redefined the fashion world.”

Although the world-premiere run in Chicago doesn’t take care of the trade’s strides towards racial inclusion or physique variety, it does wrestle with our world’s evolving attitudes towards workplaces. Amid the loss of life of the “girl boss” and the continued Nice Resignation, the musical’s portrayal of the altering attitudes individuals have towards their jobs occurs to be proper on pattern. A poisonous dedication to the workplace, beforehand glamorized onscreen and standardized throughout society, is explicitly denounced in its 2022 setting.

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

(Joan Marcus)

With music by Elton John, lyrics by Shaina Taub and a e-book by Kate Wetherhead, this musical adaptation may be very devoted to the beloved film, however the setup of the story has been fully overhauled and extra clearly specified. Performed by Taylor Iman Jones, Andy — beforehand written within the e-book as a Ivy Leaguer and onscreen as a Northwestern alum — is now an distinctive graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, who earned prestigious writing scholarships and prizes and desires of changing into a Pulitzer Prize-winning essayist.

After getting rejected by quite a few New York media retailers, Andy will get a name from media conglomerate Elias-Clarke for an interview as quickly as potential. She assumes the place is together with her dream title, Metropolis Dweller; the exhausted human sources consultant forgets to say that it’s at Runway, which Andy has solely perused in her gynecologist’s ready room.

Miranda (Beth Leavel) clocks her as a “Type-A Gen Z feminist” who’d relatively write for “a liberal echo chamber.” Andy, with scholar mortgage debt and hire due, reassures Miranda that “my voice can wait” and touts her wits and work ethic to get the job.

Miranda’s religious first assistant and resident woman boss Emily (Megan Masako Haley) then informs Andy that work-life stability shouldn’t be a factor: “Eat, sleep and breathe the job, except don’t sleep or eat,” she sings. “Everything is life or death, your day is never done.”

A woman seated at a desk looks up at a standing woman who holds a corded phone's headset to her ear.

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

(Joan Marcus)

Not like the media firms of the early aughts, Runway’s mother or father firm is simply barely breaking even in 2022, due to declining circulation and lack of advert income. And although Runway is barely within the black, it’s nonetheless too pricey and Miranda is pressured by the board of administrators to chop prices. (An government’s point out of a six-figure reshoot, which made him snort onscreen, is now delivered as a scold.)

Repositioning Runway on this means is essential: When the journal was a money cow, virulent ambition and fixed overworking appeared like means-to-an-end strategies for achievement. However particularly within the face of dwindling income and status, these exploitative methods can come off like mismanagement of sources.

Nonetheless, Andy vows to push herself and show that she will do that job, and shortly impresses Miranda a lot that she’s accompanying her boss to Paris for Style Week. In truth, Andy is fairly pleased with herself (even when her associates and boyfriend aren’t), and expresses a self-satisfaction solely seen onscreen through Hathaway’s quiet smiles.

“It’s more than just my wardrobe, I’m comin’ into my own,” she sings in a spectacular dance-centric quantity, full with a number of costume adjustments. “So watch me glow, the further I go outta my comfort zone.”

A line of people dancing onstage under illuminated dresses

Javier Muñoz and the forged of “The Devil Wears Prada, The Musical.”

(Joan Marcus)

But Miranda’s crafty betrayal in opposition to inventive director Nigel (Javier Muñoz) drives Andy to finally go away Runway behind. Within the film, Andy makes this virtuous choice with out a lot rationalization; it “doesn’t feel entirely triumphant. It smacks of giving up,” wrote Chocano.

Onstage, she makes the selection with at present’s fluctuating values of labor in a single’s life: One’s job title shouldn’t be a definitive id or a measure of intrinsic self-worth, a gig at a storied establishment needn’t compromise integrity, and that rung on the company ladder may not be value sacrificing one’s psychological well being or general well-being.

“Time to write a story of how my life could finally feel / no selling my soul, no spiritual toll, no hamster wheel,” she sings. “What if, for once, I truly let myself believe / that who I am means more than how much I achieve?” These are questions that many staff in all places have come to ask themselves extra overtly because the onset of the pandemic, which delayed the world-premiere run of “Prada” by two years.

Although solely explored throughout a smattering of lyrics, such moments of profound interiority make the up to date adaptation well timed as ever. It’d be far more efficient if these themes have been explored extra absolutely, as these scenes solely scratch the floor of the continued conversations round labor inside a capitalist system.

A woman with white hair hands a garment across a desk to her seated young female assistant.

Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada.”

(Barry Wetcher / twentieth Century Fox)

The ensemble of the stage present, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, is visibly numerous, however some critics have been disenchanted that extra real-life subjects weren’t instantly addressed: “Though magazines like Vogue have finally admitted a lack of diversity, the musical never acknowledges that everyone mistreated by Miranda, who is white, is a person of color,” reads the New York Instances’ assessment. Andy has been particularly rewritten as a Black character, and but this reality is surprisingly left unacknowledged after the present’s first scenes.

Different critics have been dismayed by what was tried onstage: “The movie’s appeal was based on two fundamental human pleasures: seeing gorgeous humans model stunning fashion artistry and watching people behave very badly in ways that the viewer would never dare,” reads the Chicago Tribune’s assessment. “It was absolutely not about learning moral lessons.” As the variation is additional adjusted for future runs, it is going to be attention-grabbing to see whether or not it turns into extra overtly topical or escapist; chasing each angles would solely cancel out each, complicated viewers greater than amusing them.

Longtime followers of the film will catch the minor particulars which have been tweaked all through the musical: Andy’s Dolce & Gabbana spelling snafu is now a Donatella Versace mispronunciation, her show-stopping Chanel boots at the moment are red-bottomed Louboutins, her high-pitched T-Cell Sidekick alert is now an iPhone ringtone. Andy’s boyfriend Nate doesn’t mope about her lacking his birthday celebration however relatively the debut of his course in a particular tasting menu; enticing acquaintance Christian Thompson will get her consideration by merely lingering at her desk.

Miranda’s well-known “cerulean” speech has been expanded to incorporate magnificence tendencies, influencers and Instagram filters, and is deliciously delivered with a makeshift Greek refrain in tow. It’s sensible of the present to protect so a lot of Miranda’s most memorable strains verbatim, together with “Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking,” and “By all means, move at a glacial pace, you know how that thrills me.”

And naturally, every time she delivers a litany of calls for for Andy to deal with, she punctuates it together with her signature signoff: “That’s all.” Fortunately, the identical can’t be mentioned of this stage adaptation.