The international hit musical Dirty Dancing has returned to Australia, and wow has it come back with a bang! Sydney Social 101 was lucky enough to attend the preview performance and it did not disappoint!
Back to where the magic began here in Sydney, Dirty Dancing is a ‘kick up your heels celebration of the 10th Anniversary Australian tour. Produced by John Frost by arrangement with Karl Sydow and Joye Entertainment, in association with Lionsgate and Magic Hour Productions, Dirty Dancing is playing at the Sydney Lyric Theatre, a decade after its World Premiere in Sydney, before it travels to Melbourne’s Princess Theatre from 1 March 2015, the Lyric Theatre, QPAC from 27 May, and the Crown Theatre, Perth from 2 August.
Two extraordinary young talents have made the leap from chorus to leading roles as the pair of iconic characters in this much loved musical production. The role of charismatic dance teacher Johnny Castle is played by Kurt Phelan while the role of innocent young Frances “Baby” Houseman is played by Kirby Burgess.
A NIDA graduate, Phelan is an actor, choreographer and writer. His musical theatre credits include Singin’ in the Rain, Witches of Eastwick, Saturday Night Fever and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Burgess has been seen on stage in Sweet Charity, An Officer and A Gentleman, Hairspray, High School Musical – Live on Stage and LOVEBiTES, and on television in Wonderland.
Returning to the role which shot her to stardom ten years ago, for a limited engagement, is Nadia Coote as Penny Johnson. Let us just say, she is out of this world – you cannot take your eyes of her! (Plus she makes you never want to eat again, ha!)
Young classical music singer Mark Vincent makes his musical theatre debut as Billy Kostecki, Johnny’s cousin. Baby’s father and mother, Jake and Marjorie, are played by Adam Murphy and Penny Martin, and her older sister Lisa by Teagan Wouters. Hotel owner Max Kellerman is Mike Bishop and making his professional debut as Neil Kellerman is Gabriel Brown. In the role of Mr Schumacher is Barry Mitchell and Tito Suarez is portrayed by Eric Rasmussen. The ensemble includes Erinn Arnel, Kyla Bartholomeusz, Charles Bartley, James Bryers, Aaron James Campbell, Amy Campbell, Anna Freeland, Kim Hudman, Elysha Manik, Sam Marks, James Maxfield, Chris Ostrenski, James D Smith, Hannah Stanton and Mitchell Woodcock.
“Dirty Dancing has been a wonderful Australian success story and an amazing worldwide triumph,” said John Frost. “The 1987 film was a massive hit, and the original movie soundtrack contains some of the most loved songs of all time. The stage musical gave audiences the chance to hear these songs performed live and to experience the breathtaking dance routines. People flocked to it, breaking records all around the world. The UK Observer called Dirty Dancing ‘The biggest live theatre sensation of all time’. Now, ten years after the World Premiere in Sydney, it returns home to where the magic began with a vibrant and talented cast, and audiences can again have the Time Of Their Lives.”
“Dirty Dancing is one of our most beloved and timeless properties,” said Lionsgate Television COO Sandra Stern. “Its magic has enchanted audiences on film, television, DVD and digital platforms alike, and it remains a perennial best-seller in our film and television library. We’re delighted to participate in the latest stage incarnation that will introduce Dirty Dancing to a whole new generation of fans, and we expect the stage play to prove yet again that nobody puts Baby in a corner.”
Dirty Dancing was first performed at the Theatre Royal, Sydney in November 2004. Following the Sydney World Premiere season, the production toured to Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Auckland, a sell-out season of 18 months throughout Australia and New Zealand. A new production opened at the Theater Neue Flora in Hamburg, Germany in March 2006 where it broke records for achieving the largest advance in European theatre history.
Following this success, Dirty Dancing broke more records in London where it opened in October 2006 at the Aldwych Theatre. The production began previews with £11 Million in advance sales, a West End theatres record. In an unprecedented move, the theatre had to add an additional 25 seats to the auditorium to accommodate the demand for tickets. It ran for six months of completely sold out performances, becoming the longest running show in the history of the Aldwych Theatre.
Dirty Dancing launched a hugely successful nationwide tour across the UK and Ireland in 2011, then returned to London at the Piccadilly Theatre. A new UK tour launched in Bristol in March this year.
Dirty Dancing has been staged across the world in Toronto, Canada; Utrecht, Holland; a North American Tour including Chicago, Boston and LA; Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. The show opened in Berlin, Germany in April 2009 and closed in November 2010, the longest run in the history of the Potzdamer Platz theatre. The show is again touring Germany and productions will open shortly in France and Italy. A new multi-city North American tour will open in August this year in Washington DC, before touring to 30 cities across the continent.
If you’re going to book to see any show in Sydney this summer, make sure that Dirty Dancing is at the very top of your list as you prepare to be transported back through time as nostalgia washes over you!