‘Dirty Dancing’ musical’s gay performers weigh in on Atlanta stop
It was a massively popular movie, known for launching the careers of Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze and for the immortal line “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” Now “Dirty Dancing” has been turned into a stage musical.
Besides a lot of dancing and new musical numbers, the show has two gay performers, John Swapshire and Chris Vandenhende. We caught up with both men before the show hits the ATL just after Thanksgiving to talk about how the gig came up, how they compare the musical to the movie and what modern audiences can take away.
Howdy, John. How did the show come up for you?
Strangely enough, a friend invited me to come audition. I wasn’t that familiar with the musical but I went. I was not that prepared; I almost didn’t go. But I wanted to show my skills and I got it.
Who are you in the show?
I am part of the ensemble but I also understudy the role of Tito. In the past, Tito was a dancer, a great mentor to all the dancers in the show. Has been doing it for years. He’s strong and everyone loves him.
How does the musical differ from the film?