Gigi (pronounced: [ʒi.ʒi]) is a 1944 novella by French writer Colette. The plot focuses on a young Parisian girl being groomed for a career as a courtesan and her relationship with the wealthy cultured man named Gaston who falls in love with her and eventually marries her.
In 1951, it was adapted for the stage by Anita Loos. Colette had personally picked the yet unknown Audrey Hepburn on first sight to play the title role. Her Aunt Alicia was played by stage legend Cathleen Nesbitt, who was to become Hepburn's acting mentor from that time on. Opening on 24 November 1951 on Broadway at the Fulton Theatre, the play ran for 219 performances (finishing on 31 May 1952) and Hepburn's debut on Broadway earned her a Theatre World Award.
Seven years later, a musical film version with a screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner and a score by Lerner and Frederick Loewe won the Academy Award for Best Picture. This film version starred Leslie Caron and Louis Jourdan. The story of a girl being groomed to be a courtesan by her grandmother made producer Arthur Freed doubt whether making it as a straight drama would be acceptable to the American censors, so they "cleaned it up" and turned it into a musical.
Lerner and Loewe adapted the film for a 1973 stage musical that proved to be unsuccessful.
A pre-Broadway production of the musical, newly adapted by Heidi Thomas (Call the Midwife, Cranford, Upstairs Downstairs) and directed by Eric D. Schaeffer (Follies, Million Dollar Quartet) was performed at Washington D.C's Kennedy Center till mid February 2015 with High School Musical actress Vanessa Anne Hudgens playing as Gigi. This revival of Gigi opened on Broadway, at the Neil Simon Theater, on April 8, 2015.