‘ Dirty Danc­ing’ mu­si­cal brings new moves, fa­mil­iar tunes into F. M. Kirby Cen­ter

The Republican Herald - This Weekend - - News - BY CHAR­LOTTE L. JA­COB­SON STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: cja­cob­son@ cit­i­zensvoice. com; 570821- 2061

No­body puts “Dirty Danc­ing” in the cor­ner.

Thirty years af­ter the film hit the­aters for the first time, the story con­tin­ues to draw new viewer ship across all gen­er­a­tions. Now, those same view­ers can see their fa­vorite scenes live on stage.

The staged pro­duc­tion of the clas­sic film, “Dirty Danc­ing” twirls into the F. M. Kirby Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts in down­town Wilkes Barre for two per­for­mances, Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day.

Lead­ing a com­pany of 24 is Aaron Pa­trick Craven as Johnny Castle and Kaleigh Courts as Frances “Baby” House­man. As in the cel­e­brated film, writ­ten by Eleanor Berg­stein, the story fol­lows the young love be­tween Johnny and Baby dur­ing a sum­mer at a Catskills re­sort in 1963. When Baby stum­bles upon the staff quar­ters, rowdy with an all- night dance party in full swing, she be­comes en­am­ored with the raunchy dance moves and pound­ing rhythms. Her life is for­ever changed as she is thrown in the deep end as Johnny’s lead­ing lady, both on- and off- stage.

The film ver­sion ex­pe­ri­enced waves of pop­u­lar­ity over the years, be­gin­ning with the orig­i­nal film’s re­lease in 1987, star­ring Jen­nifer Grey and the late Pa­trick Swayze. As of 2009, the film earned more than $ 214 mil­lion world wide, and be­came the first film to sell more than a mil­lion copies on home video.

For the live pro­duc­tion, Berg­stein wrote 20 ad­di­tional scenes, which in­cludes mu­si­cal num­bers to clas­sic hits like “Hun­gry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” “Do You Love Me” and, of course, “( I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” Ato­tal of 36 mu­si­cal num­bers are per­formed through­out the showby a live band, and nine styles of ball­room dance are fea­tured, along with the “dirty danc­ing” styles fa­mous in the film.

“The film has been trans­formed for stage with more scenes, more mu­sic and more danc­ing,” Craven said. “All the fa­mous char­ac­ters and clas­sic lines are rep­re­sented. ... The ex­tra scenes delve into a richer, more com­plex story and a deeper un­der­stand­ing of the char­ac­ters and their re­la­tion­ships.”

The added scenes lend to the au­di­ence learn­ing more about the time pe­riod in which the show takes place, Craven added, pri­mar­ily the changes in so­cial cli­mate. Fans also can feel more con­nected to their fa­vorite char­ac­ters, es­pe­cially Johnny and Baby, who have ad­di­tional scenes writ­ten specif­i­cally to ex­plore the pair’s re­la­tion­ship and per­son­al­i­ties.

This theme, along with the mu­sic, com­ing- of- age as­pects and tale of love res­onate strongly with both Craven and most au­di­ences, which has se­cured the story’s place in pop cul­ture over the past three decades.

“Even if you knowthe movie by heart, noth­ing can com­pare to see­ing this un­fold live on stage,” Craven said.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Aaron Pa­trick Craven, as Johnny Castle, and Kaleigh Courts, as Baby, per­form in the staged pro­duc­tion of the clas­sic film, “Dirty Danc­ing,” which twirls into the F. M. Kirby Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts in down­town Wilkes- Barre for two per­for­mances...

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