On Stage: Dirty Dancing

If you are a big fan of the 1987 movie “Dirty Dancing” then you will most likely have the time of your life (yes, I went there) at the stage version now playing at the Fox Theatre.

I was not a big fan of the movie. I believe the first and last time I saw it was in 1987. Didn’t hate it, it just wasn’t my thing. It wasn’t my wife’s thing either, so when the time came to catch the stage version I decided to bring along my friend Tina, who claims “Dirty Dancing” is one of her favorite films. She loves it so much she says she had a “Dirty Dancing” bicycle when she was 9 years old. I can’t even imagine what a “Dirty Dancing” bicycle would look like.

So in the spirit of fair play, I will offer my thoughts on the show, followed by Tina’s. But first, your standard synopsis:

Jillian Mueller (Baby) and Samuel Pergande (Johnny) in the North American tour of DIRTY DANCING – THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Jillian Mueller (Baby) and Samuel Pergande (Johnny) in the North American tour of DIRTY DANCING – THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Set in the early 1960s, it is the story of Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jillian Mueller), a teenager spending summer vacation with her family at a resort. She has a fling with dance instructor Johnny Castle (Samuel Pergande) and many life lessons are learned among a rockin’ (for a 1987 movie set in 1963) soundtrack and many scenes of dirty, dirty dancing.

The stage version, which opened 10 years ago in Australia, is a faithful adaptation of the source material — or so my expert tells me. I don’t remember much about the movie after 27 years.

The show boasts a strong orchestra, talented singers and dancers and sharp choreography. The set design makes good use of video to cover a variety of ground.

It’s a solid show but it didn’t quite convert me to the Church of Dirty Dancing.

*******

 

And now a few words from one of its chief disciples:

If you loved the movie you’d love the musical. Wonderful singing and acting. I wanted to get up and dance with them. It looked like the actual people in the movie in appearance. Loved the dance numbers and it had some comedy in there.

Beautiful, beautiful, entertaining, riveting, exciting. Absolutely LOVED it.

— Tina J.

Dirty Dancing runs through November 2. http://www.fabulousfox.com/

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