Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage, based on the book by Eleanor Bergstein who also did the screenplay for the movie, has fantastic stage design and effects beginning with a sensual silhouette that begins act one. There were many scene changes throughout with filtered screens and well executed design elements such as river swimming, car driving, nature backdrops and sunset scenes.
Most of the acting seemed stiff with forced dialogue that didn’t convey much emotion or passion. The lead characters Johnny Castle (Samuel Pergande) and Frances “Baby” Houseman (Gillian Abbott) were relatively weak. They did have an erotic, romantic and tastefully done love scene. Each of them were superb dancers, but neither of them sang one song, solo or together, not even the Academy Award winning “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” which was sung by Jennlee Shallow (Elizabeth) and Doug Carpenter (Billy Kostecki) as the finale.
The choreography was sexy but basically the same throughout. Amanda Brantley was superb and displayed Marilyn Monroe sexiness as Vivian Pressman. Also turning in a delicious performance was Jenny Winton as the long legged Penny Johnson. But neither actress had a singing part.
The soundtrack from the film contained many classics from the early 60’s but the music on stage was either original recordings, performed off stage or by various on stage characters with a few muddled pieces. Too many “music breaks” and general lack of cohesiveness seemed to take away from the flow of the show as it seemed to move too fast creating confusing transitions to the next scene.
If you wanted a true Broadway Musical rendition of the book and movie Dirty Dancing, you aren’t going to get it with the latest touring stage version.
Dirty Dancing is on the Dallas Summer Musicals stage at Music Hall at Fair Park until July 5 then moves to Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth from July 7-12.
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