Photo courtesy of Matthew Murphy Samuel Pergande(Johnny), Jillian Mueller (Baby) and Jenny Winton (Penny)
The set up:
The story of how Dirty Dancing came to be is as Tinseltown-ready as the film itself. The year was 1987 and Eleanor Bergstein had written a dance movie of the Flashdance/Footloose variety but with somewhat more realistic characters and issue stuff like abortion and class snobbery thrown into the mix. The studio hated it. Initial test audiences hated it. Yet by some miracle the film got shown and, mimicking the perfect Hollywood happy ending, grossed just under $214 million worldwide, won an Oscar and several Grammy's for the music and became the dominant album on the charts for weeks on end.
Fast forward to 2004 and Bergstein decided that no one puts Dirty Dancing in the corner. She dusted off the script, adapted it for the stage, brought in director James Powell and choreographer Michele Lynch (to channel Kate Champion's original dance vision), added some additional music and scenes and kicked off an Australian tour. From there the show has been seen in Germany, London, Holland and South Africa with records broken for advance sales and production runs in many of the stops.
The global appeal of Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story Onstage, as it's fully titled, is now getting its North American litmus test in a multi city tour. Whether it's as big a hit here as overseas remains to be seen as Houston is one of the early stops in the run. But as we all know, hit and critical acclaim don't always go hand in hand or two step to two step in this case. Sure we loved the movie in North America. Or loved to hate it in some cases. No one can argue that. But let's cast aside nostalgia and gooey teenage memories from the late '80s and see if the play lives up to the hype on its own merits.More »