The musical version of the Patrick Swayze/Jennifer Grey movie “Dirty Dancing” is finally on its way to the U.S. According to ABC News, it will make its American premiere at Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre Sept. 2. Its run there will be followed by a West Coast premiere at Los Angeles’ Pantages Theatre in May of 2009. Adapted for the stage in 2004, Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage began its life in Australia and went on to be staggeringly successful in London’s West End, then Europe. It made its North American premiere in Toronto in the fall of 2007.
Tickets for the U.S. shows went on sale this month. The stage show is produced by Jacobsen Entertainment in association with Lionsgate and Magic Hour Productions. Eleanor Bergstein wrote both scripts for movie and stage.
The movie had a difficult passage; before it ever hit the screen, it was believed by many in the production to be headed straight for video. But it surprised the nay-sayers and went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of that year. Its success didn’t end there; it went on to become the number one video release in 1988 and the first film to sell a million copies. Albums from the movie went on to become multiple-platinum sellers.
Press notes describe Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage as “a coming of age love story involving the talented and headstrong dancer Johnny Castle and Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman. During her family’s summer vacation at the popular Kellerman’s resort, Baby, a doctor’s daughter with dreams of joining the Peace Corps, meets Johnny, the guy from the wrong side of the tracks. Against all odds, they fall in love, learning life-changing lessons along the way. [The musical] follows the highs and lows of their summer romance.” Song titles include “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby” and “Do You Love Me?”
Bergstein, in a statement in Playbill, said, “I originally wrote the movie because I love to dance. Since the movie opened, the openhearted audience response has made me believe that everyone has a secret dancer inside them; one they feel could connect them to the physical world in the way they dream. As I learned how many people watched the movie over and over and over, 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 live theatre – 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.”