Role Playlist: Andy Karl On How Bruno Mars, Chris Cornell and Pavarotti Prep Him For 'Pretty Woman'

Matthew Murphy
Samantha Barks and Andy Karl in "Pretty Woman: The Musical"

"Music is vital to me as an actor," says Andy Karl.

The Broadway veteran, known for his versatility (among other roles, he's played Rocky in Rocky and Phil Connors in Groundhog Day, for which he received his most recent Tony nomination), is currently playing wealthy businessman Edward Lewis in the blockbuster Pretty Woman: The Musical.

For Billboard's Role Playlist series, digging into the music Broadway actors listen to while preparing their characters, Karl shared his go-to tunes to get pumped for walking onstage as Edward each night.

Check it out below.

"Rodeo Drive," Orfeh, Original Broadway Cast of Pretty Woman

Karl's wife Orfeh, who plays Kit De Luca in Pretty Woman, "tears this song up! She just blows this one out of the water."

"Finesse," Bruno Mars

"I use this on those days where I need to look so good in the mirror. Brush my shoulders while lookin’ pimpin’ in my Tom Ford suits."

"Come Fly with Me," Frank Sinatra

"Sinatra is confidence, style and effortlessly smooth. I sing this every day before a show."

"As Hope and Promise Fade," Chris Cornell 

Karl recently discovered this song from Cornell's live Songbook album. "I was always a fan of his music, and when he passed it affected me. I started listening deeper to his work," he says. "This song is a rock vocal masterpiece and a terrific lyric. He gets to my soul, which I need to be in touch with."

"Run To You," Bryan Adams

"When I need that 'sound' we use in our show, I turn to the man himself," says Karl of Adams, who co-wrote the music and lyrics for Pretty Woman. "Bryan Adams is very unique and you can hear his, and [co-composer/lyricist] Jim Vallance's style in Pretty Woman very clearly."

"For the Love of Money," The O'Jays

"Funky, chunky, make that money! Like it or not, my character, in the beginning of the show, is a lot like Donald Trump in the business sense. Money is not an object, and it’s all the power one needs. Or is it?"

"Un dí, felice, eterea" from La Traviata, Giuseppe Verdi

"Ah, Pavarotti!" Karl exclaims. A segment of Verdi's classic opera is used in Pretty Woman, and Edward is an opera lover. "His mother introduced him to it, and later he introduces opera to Vivian. It’s then that Edward watches her and completely falls in love."

"Time For War," Hungry For Success: Motivational Speeches and Workout Music

At almost every show, Karl admits he listens to this "for five minutes before I go on stage to give my character that business motivation. It's very helpful to put myself in a billionaire's shoes."


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