Bianca N V is a freelance writer, PR guru, lover of shoes and all things girly, Mum of four and life-long explorer of Melbourne's south east and more. 'Like' and subscribe for updates to keep you and your kids entertained for a little or even less.
Media call reveals show stopping highlights - spoiler alert
The worldwide musical phenomenon Dirty Dancing - the Classic Story on Stage has returned to Australian shores where it began its international success story some 10 years ago. Opening to cheers and standing ovations at Sydney's Lyric Theatre late last year, the show is now playing at Melbourne's Princess Theatre, before moving onto Brisbane from 27 May followed by Perth from 2 August.
Stepping out of the chorus and into the spotlight are undeniable young talents Kurt Phelan (Singin' in the Rain, Witches of Eastwick, Saturday Night Fever), as leading man and heart-throb Johnny Castle, and Kirby Burgess (Sweet Charity, An Officer and A Gentleman, Hairspray) as the strong-minded and innocent Frances 'Baby' Houseman.
Baby in a corner. Photograph courtesy of Dirty Dancing - the Classic Story on Stage.
Producer John Frost has followed the famous 80's screenplay closely, but without deliberate imitation. Each principal cast member brings their own personality and individual interpretation to their character. However, as the stage show follows the film so closely, the adaptation doesn't include singing roles for the two leads, which is unusual for a musical. It is more about the dancing, and what incredible dancing it is.
In case you need a refresher on the storyline - it's the summer of 1963, the Houseman's are on holiday in New York's Catskill Mountains, and while her older sister Lisa (Teagan Wouters - The Addams Family Musical, Jersey Boys Sydney season) and parents Jake (Adam Murphy - A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Mary Poppins, Guys and Dolls, Mamma Mia) and Majorie (Penny Martin - Anything Goes, West Side Story, Footloose, The Wizard of Oz) settle into the resort's cheesy activities, 17 year old Baby is set for some serious life lessons as she finds herself amid the raunchy dance moves of an all-night staff party, and sets her sights on resort dance instructor Johnny Castle. Little does she know, but her do-gooder ways will soon see her flung into the role as Johnny's dance partner, winning his heart and changing her life forever.
Learning the moves - Kirby Burgess as Frances 'Baby' Houseman and Kurt Phelan as Johnny Castle. Photograph courtesy of Dirty Dancing - the Classic Story on Stage.
Dirty Dancing brings unstoppable energy, passion and sensational sexiness to the stage. At the media call we were treated to three power-packed performances, including the famous finale featuring the signature lift to "(I've Had) The Time of My Life." Phelan and Burgess don't disappoint, delivering gravity defying lifts and jumps, and powerful chemistry, very much in keeping with the original film sequence. The supporting dance company also brings enormous energy and exhilaration to the act, but you can't take your eyes off Phelan and Burgess.
New stars Maddie Peat, as dance instructor Penny Johnson, and Mark Vincent, making his musical theatre debut as Johnny's cousin Billy Kostecki, inject visible enthusiasm and dedication into their roles. Vincent is a stand out, performing solo "In the Still of the Night" with jaw-dropping affect. Peat, having undergone six weeks of intensive one-on-one training for the role, is precision on legs and faultless in her dance performances.
The finale with Kurt Phelan as Johnny Castle and Kirby Burgess as Baby, centre stage, with Maddie Peat as Penny Johnson, back left. Photograph by Bianca N V.
We were also treated to a sneak peak of the all-night staff party scene in Act One, where Phelan and Peat take centre stage showcasing the saucey moves synonymous with Dirty Dancing to "Do You Love Me," sung with gusto by Eric Rasmussen who plays hotel band leader Tito Suarez, accompanied by James D Smith and Anna Freeland. Again, their performances are flawless and in close keeping with the original screenplay, as are those of supporting cast members and dancers.
Dirty Dancing - the Classic Story on Stage promises to thrill and captivate audiences young and old all over again. You will want to get up out of your seat and dance in the aisle. Tickets are on sale now for Melbourne shows at the Princess Theatre through Ticketmaster. Purchase tickets to shows at Brisbane's Lyric Theatre through the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, and to Perth shows at Crown Theatre, Burswood from Ticketek.
Seen the show? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Dirty Dancing - the Classic Story on Stage is now showing at Melbourne's Princess Theatre. Photograph by Bianca N V.
Why? Dirty Dancing - the Classic Story on Stage is the ultimate girls' night out. Re-live your favourite movie memories and have the time of your life with the return of the worldwide hit to Australia for a 10th anniversary tour.
When:Melbourne from 5 March, Brisbane from 27 May, Perth from 2 August 2015.
Phone:Melbourne - Ticketmaster 1300 111 011 or groups of 8 or more 1300 889 278; Brisbane - QPAC 136 246 or groups of 8 or more (07) 3840 7466; Perth - Ticketek 132 849 or groups of 8 or more 1300 364 001.