Theatre review by Steve Duffy –
We all know the story. Now is your chance to watch it come to live on the stage!
It’s the summer of 1963, and 17-year-old Frances “Baby” Houseman is on vacation in New York’s Catskill Mountains with her older sister and parents. Baby discovers her own entertainment when she stumbles upon the staff quarters where an all-night dance party is in full swing. Mesmerized by the raunchy dance moves and the pounding rhythms, Baby can’t wait to be part of the scene, especially when she catches sight of Johnny Castle the resort dance instructor. Baby’s life is about to change forever as she is thrown in at the deep end as Johnny’s leading lady both on-stage and off with breathtaking consequences.
For fans of the 1987 film, this stage version is tightly based on the film. You can literally close your eyes and it is just like sitting on your couch and enjoying the film.
Hunky Aaron Patrick Craven plays Johnny Castle, the bad boy dance instructor, who helps Baby (Kaleigh Courts) transform herself from an awkward girl. They were able to re-create some of the sizzling chemistry, but not enough to feel the heat. However, they are both great dancers and it was amazing watching them perform. I would also have to spotlight Anais Blake who plays Penny. Man, could she dance!
The rest of the cast is basically cookie-cutter characters that add little to the story. For those that do sing, their vocals are strong especially those of Nickolaus Colon and Erica Philpot. I could have listened to them sing all night.
The plot is a little choppy and hard to keep track of at times, but it is the dancing that keeps you interested and the main reason why should buy your ticket to the show.
All the hits from the movie are also featured “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” “Do You Love Me?” and the heart-stopping “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life.” The one song missing that I was hoping for “She’s Like the Wind.”
Even without Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, I promise, you will still have the time of your life!
Running Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes (includes 20 minute intermission)
Dirty Dancing is now playing at the Boch Center Shubert Theatre through June 17th. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or by visiting www.bochcenter.org