The critically acclaimed National Tour of Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage, starring Christopher Tierney as suave and oh-so-sexy Catskills resort dance instructor Johnny Castle and Gillian Abbott as awkward 17-year-old Frances “Baby” Houseman, will make its Raleigh debut on Sept. 8-13 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. It will be presented by Broadway Series South and also included in the North Carolina Theatre‘s 2015-16 season.
Set — like the movie — in the summer of 1963 at Kellerman’s, a Catskill Mountains resort in southeastern New York State, the 2004 Sydney, Australia and 2006 West End musical is based on the surprise dance movie sensation of the summer of 1987, Dirty Dancing, written and co-produced by Eleanor Bergstein and directed by Emile Ardolino and starring then 35-year-old Patrick Swayze as Johnny and then 27-year-old Jennifer Grey as Baby.
Dirty Dancing not only made big stars out of Swayze and Grey, but its soundtrack roared to the top of the Billboard 200, and spent 18 weeks at number one. Moreover, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” (sung by Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers and California singer-songwriter Jennifer Warnes) won the 1987 Academy Award® for Best Original Song, the 1988 Grammy Award® for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, and the 1988 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
The Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage creative team also includes director James Powell, tour choreographer Michelle Lynch, original choreographer Kate Champion, set designer Stephen Brimson Lewis, lighting designer Tim Mitchell, costume designer Jennifer Irwin, hair designer Bernie Ardia, sound designer Bobby Aitken, video and projection designer Jon Driscoll, music supervisor Conrad Helfrich, and music director Alan J. Plado.
In addition to Christopher Tierney as Johnny and Gillian Abbott as Baby, the tour cast includes Mark Elliot Wilson as Baby’s father, Dr. Jake Houseman, who is personal physician to resort owner Max Kellerman (Gary Lynch); Margot White and Alex Scolari as Baby’s mother, Marjorie Houseman, and her older sister, Lisa; and Jenny Winton as Johnny’s dance partner Penny Johnson, who is pregnant by a local Lothario; and Scott McCreary as Robbie Gould.
The tour cast also includes Doug Carpenter as Billy Kostecki, Jerome Harmann-Hardeman as Tito Suarez, Ryan Jesse as Neil Kellerman, Herman Petras as Mr. Schumacher, Rachel Marie Bell as Vivian Pressman, Jon Drake as Moe Pressman, and Jennlee Shallow as Elizabeth/Singer.
The Broadway Series South news release starts with a quote from Dirty Dancing screenwriter and playwright Eleanor Bergstein:
“‘As I learned how many people watched the movie over and over and over,’ [she says,] ‘I began to think that what they really wanted was to share more intensely in the event, to step through the screen and be there while the story was happening. And if that was true, then its natural form was the theater — audiences watching live bodies dancing here and now in the present — on the log, on the bridge, on the dance floor, and in the staff quarters at Kellerman’s. Writing it for the stage, I was also able to add more Baby and Johnny scenes, more about the family, more songs I couldn’t afford last time, and, most exciting of all — more dancing.’
“‘Dirty Dancing is one of our most beloved and timeless properties,’ said Lionsgate Television [chief operating officer] Sandra Stern. ‘Its magic has enchanted audiences on film, television, DVD, and digital platforms alike; and it remains a perennial best-seller in our film and television library. We’re delighted to participate in the latest stage incarnation that will introduce Dirty Dancing to a whole new generation of fans, and we expect the stage play to prove yet again that “nobody puts Baby in a corner.”‘
“The production’s book is written by Eleanor Bergstein and the North American tour will be directed by James Powell, with choreography by Michele Lynch, based on the original choreography by Kate Champion.
“Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage is an unprecedented live experience, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance and sensational dancing. Seen by millions across the globe, this timeless love story features the hit songs ‘Hungry Eyes,’ ‘Hey Baby,’ ‘Do You Love Me?’ and the heart-stopping ‘(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.’ London’s Sunday Express says, ‘This crowd-pleasing stage adaptation hits the jackpot!'”
When the curtain rises, the news release continues:
“It’s the summer of 1963, and 17-year-old Frances “Baby” Houseman is on vacation in New York’s Catskill Mountains with her older sister and parents. Mesmerized by the racy dance moves and pounding rhythms she discovers in the resort’s staff quarters, Baby can’t wait to be part of the scene, especially when she catches sight of Johnny Castle, the resort’s sexy dance instructor. Passions ignite and Baby’s life changes forever when she is thrown in to the deep end as Johnny’s leading lady, both onstage and off.
“Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage began as an eight-week staged workshop in Manhattan in the fall of 2001. It was first performed at the Theatre Royal in Sydney, Australia in November 2004 before embarking upon a hugely successful tour of Australia and New Zealand. A new production opened at the Theater Neue Flora in Hamburg, Germany in March 2006, where it broke records for achieving the highest advance in European history.
“The production began performances on London’s West End in October 2006 with an £11 million advance and went on to become the longest-running show in the history of the Aldwych Theatre. It closed in July 2011 in advance of a two-year U.K. national tour and then returned to London for a strictly limited season at the Piccadilly Theatre.
“The show has gone on to perform across the world in markets as diverse as Utrecht, Holland, Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. Most recently, it has been represented by a new U.K. tour (which launched March 2014 in Bristol), a German tour (which launched April 2014 in Berlin), and an Italian production (which launched October 2014 in Milan). The show returned to Australia with a new tour that premiered in late 2014 in honor of the stage production’s 10th anniversary.
“The North American tour of Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage is produced by Amber Jacobsen, NETworks Presentations LLC, Grove Entertainment, and Col Joye, in association with Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), the premier next-generation global content leader, and Magic Hour Productions.”
SECOND OPINION: Sept. 5th Raleigh, NC News & Observer mini-preview by Roy C. Dicks: http://www.newsobserver.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article34171656.html; and Sept. 2nd Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Byron Woods: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/dirty-dancing-the-classic-story-on-stage/Event?oid=4574461.
Broadway Series South presents DIRTY DANCING: THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8-11 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 and 13 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.
TICKETS: $25.14-$105.14, including fees.
BSS Box Office: 919-996-8700 (information only). Tickets are primarily sold through Ticketmaster (800-745-3000) and at the Duke Energy Center Box Office, on the Wilmington St. side of the center.
Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115203/1196389.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-996-8707, email@example.com, or http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/broadway-series-south/group-sales.
SHOW: http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/event/dirty-dancing-5757 and http://nctheatre.com/shows/dirty-dancing.
VIDEO PREVIEWS: http://us.dirtydancingontour.com/sights-sounds/videos/.
THE TOUR: http://us.dirtydancingontour.com/, https://www.facebook.com/DirtyDancingOnTour, and https://twitter.com/DDOnStage.
THE TOUR CAST: http://us.dirtydancingontour.com/about/cast/.
THE TOUR CREATIVE TEAM: http://us.dirtydancingontour.com/about/creative/.
PRESENTER: http://www.progressenergycenter.com/broadway-series-south, https://www.facebook.com/broadwayseriessouthraleigh, and https://twitter.com/BroadwaySouth.
NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10th, performance.
Dirty Dancing (1987 film): http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/18187/Dirty-Dancing/ (Turner Classic Movies), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092890/ (Internet Movie Database), https://www.facebook.com/OfficialDirtyDancing (Facebook page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_Dancing (Wikipedia).
Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage (2004 Sydney and 2006 West End musical): http://us.dirtydancingontour.com/ (official tour website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_Dancing#Stage_version (Wikipedia).
Eleanor Bergstein (screenwriter and playwright): http://us.dirtydancingontour.com/creative/eleanor-bergstein/ (tour bio), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0075044/ (Internet Movie Database), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_Bergstein (Wikipedia).
James Powell (director): http://us.dirtydancingontour.com/creative/james-powell/ (tour bio) and http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=494839 (Internet Broadway Database).
Michele Lynch (choreographer): http://michelelynch.com/ (official website), http://us.dirtydancingontour.com/creative/michele-lynch/ (tour bio), and http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=88923 (Internet Broadway Database).
Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail email@example.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)