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‘Dirty Dancing’ puts Baby, Johnny on stage

‘Dirty Dancing’ puts Baby, Johnny on stage

Of all the blockbuster movies out there that seemed destined for the stage, few if any would have be
‘Dirty Dancing’ puts Baby, Johnny on stage
Eleanor Bergstein, who wrote the original screenplay for "Dirty Dancing," also wrote the book for the stage version.

Of all the blockbuster movies out there that seemed destined for the stage, few if any would have better prospects than 1987’s “Dirty Dancing.”

Patrick Swayzee and Jennifer Gray starred in the film version of a young 17-year-old girl who falls in love with a dance instructor while on a family vacation in the Catskills. The stage version, now in its third year of the North American Tour, is coming to Proctors for eight performances in six days beginning next Tuesday.

The two leads are being played by Christopher Tierney and Bronwyn Reed, two multi-talented actors with plenty of ballet experience on their resume. Tierney played Johnny Castle in the first national tour of “Dirty Dancing,” and has also performed with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Les Ballet Jazz du Montreal and the Houston Ballet. Reed, meanwhile, who plays Frances “Baby” Houseman, studied with The Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, and also got her four-year degree and masters in acting from Stanford University. Fans of “Law & Order: SVU” might recognize her in a recurring role as Lucy Huston.

‘Dirty Dancing’

WHERE: Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 1:30 and 8 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday

HOW MUCH: $95-$20

MORE INFO: 346-6204, www.proctors.org

The North American tour is being directed by James Powell. Michele Lynch is the choreographer and Eleanor Bergstein, who wrote the original screenplay, also wrote the book for the stage version.

“As I learned how many people watched the movie over and over and over,” Bergstein said in a press statement, “I began to think that what they really wanted was to share more physically 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 theatre — live audiences watching live bodies dancing and singing here and now in the present — on the log, on the bridge, on the dance floor and in the staff quarters at Kellerman’s.”

The play includes a couple of scenes and songs not in the movie.

“Writing it for the stage, I was also able to add more scenes with Baby and Johnny, more about the family, more songs I couldn’t afford last time, and, best of all, more dancing,” said Bergstein. “We have added 20 new original scenes and 36 numbers of live music, which invite the audience to come into Kellerman’s and experience the story in a whole new way, as a live event, as it happens.”

Sharing the stage with Tierney and Reed will be Jennifer Mealani Jones as Penny Johnson and Jon Powell as Dr. Jake Houseman. There are 26 performers in the cast, along with an eight-piece onstage band to perform the music, including the Oscar-winning song, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”

The stage version of “Dirty Dancing” premiered on Broadway in 2007, and also opened in other parts of North America a year later to rave reviews. The play also enjoyed great success on London’s West End and in Germany.

Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or bbuell@dailygazette.com.

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