Dirty Dancing: The Time of Your Life

Dirty DancingChristopher Tierney and Gillian Abbott star in the national touring production of “Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage.” Photo by Matthew Murphy.

In August 1987, every teenage girl in America had a crush on the same actor — Patrick Swayze. His portrayal of Johnny Castle in the hit film Dirty Dancing catapulted him to superstardom. Johnny was from the wrong side of the tracks, but he had a heart of gold (and, let’s face it, he could move).

Enter Frances “Baby” Houseman, on vacation with her overprotective parents and annoying older sister at Kellerman’s, a lavish vacation resort.

“That was the summer of 1963. When everybody called me ‘Baby’ and it didn’t occur to me to mind. That was before President Kennedy got shot, before the Beatles came, when I couldn’t wait to join the Peace Corps and I thought I’d never find a guy as great as my dad. That was the summer we went to Kellerman’s,” says Baby at the opening of the movie-turned-stage musical.

Introduce one idealistic, sheltered teenager to an older, experienced dance instructor and you’ve got the sizzle of fireworks that tests loyalty, questions worthiness and sparks passion in audiences across the nation.   

There’s just something about the story that doesn’t quite go away. In fact, ABC announced in December that it will film a three-hour adaptation of the movie for network broadcast starring Abigail Breslin. Perhaps it’s the “diamond in the rough” story of Johnny or the “coming-of-age” plot of Baby. Or it may be that soundtrack. Winner of a Golden Globe, Academy Award and Grammy, the soundtrack has sold more than 44 million copies and, in addition to number one hits from the 1960’s, includes such songs as “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” “Hungry Eyes” and “She’s Like the Wind.”

Now the national touring production of Dirty Dancing  – The Classic Story on Stage comes to the Buell Theatre from Jan. 26-31.

In fact, the music served as the backbone of the original script development. Scriptwriter Eleanor Bergstein selected the songs she wanted to use and then wrote the story against them. She wanted the music to function as the soundtrack of the story and of the characters’ hearts.

It may be nearly 30 years later, but we’re all sure to await that singular moment at the end of the musical when Baby flies atop Johnny’s arms, asserting her love, her loyalty and her independence.

Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story On Stage
Click the forward arrow to see more production photos by Matthew Murphy.

Dirty Dancing  —  The Classic Story on Stage
Jan 26-31
Buell Theatre
Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
Groups: 303-446-4829
ASL interpreted, Audio described and open-captioned performance: 2 p.m. Jan. 30

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