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“Dirty Dancing” opened at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando last night and it was a show with a subtle difference from the usual movies that make it onto the big stage.
The story-line still focuses on 17 year old Frances “Baby” Houseman, the sheltered middle class teen who has graduated from High School in the Summer of 1963 and who is vacationing with her family at Kellerman’s resort in the Catskill Mountains. Gone is “the Musical” version that so many film adaptions become and in its place comes an interesting blend where the lead characters never sing but, instead, a string of 60’s hits written for the film become the sound track to the character’s lives.
The show opens with “This Magic Moment” and as you sit back in your chair you cast your mind back to how things were in those days if you were alive or how you envisioned them to be if you are a little younger. A time before man put a human being into space or on the moon, before John F. Kennedy was assassinated and a time when America was still trying to come to terms with itself in regard to class differences and the civil rights movement.
Set designer Stephen Brimson Lewis did a superb job in creating a simple but highly effective stage utilizing two LED screens to change the mood and the costumes by Jennifer Irwin were bang on. It was fun to watch the dancing and the free flowing period costumes.
Less fun was some of the action. At times a little slow and laborious but at others, enchanting and funny as theatre goers lapped up the production and its music. Although the stars of the show were billed as Rachel Boone as “Baby” and Christopher Tierney as “Johnny Castle”, the real highlight was the superb singing performance from Adrienne Walker (as Elizabeth) who outshone everyone including a very powerful performance from Doug Carpenter (as Billy Kostecki), who was truly excellent.
The show runs through to 3rd April and tickets cost from $33.75 online at drphillipscenter.org
8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, March 29-April 1
2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, April 2
1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 3