Dirty Dancing, the live version, will make you sing, clap, wiggle in your seat
Nashville’s Tennessee Performing Arts Center ripped the gates wide open Tuesday night with the opening show for this year’s new Broadway season: Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage!
As soon as the shows begins, the audience is sucked in to the lively Kellerman’s Summer of 1963, a time where mens’ chiseled pecks were clothed in tight white tees with rolled sleeves and the girls sported knee-length denim shorts or Hepburn style swing dresses. The 60’s clad ensemble wastes no time at all getting right down to the hip-to-hip, nose-to-nose grinding most remembered from the iconic 1987 film.
Christopher Tierney, playing the very picture of masculinity Johnny Castle, along with professional ballerina, Jenny Winton (as Penny Johnson) quickly emerge as the show’s centerpiece with their fast-paced mambo in “Johnny’s Mambo.” Christopher whips Jenny around to and fro like a feisty toddler with a ragdoll . . . in a sexy little red dress.
In this nearly line-for-line stage production, Christopher snips one of our favorite lines at waiter Robbie, “You just put your pickle on everybody’s plates, college boy, and leave the hard stuff to me.” Patrick Swayze would be proud to watch the sassy Tierney in the role of Johnny Castle. Tierney’s not only perfected Johnny’s peacock-chested proud strut, he’s even mastered Swayze’s sweet Southern accent and cadence, leaving us all swooning for more.
Joining the ensemble in front of a unique, digitized and cinema-like projection screen set for most of the show, singers Jennlee Shallow and Billy Kostecki keep the audience energized throughout the show, belting out some of America’s most nostalgic tunes, including awe-inspiring renditions of “In the Still of the Night (I’ll Remember)” and “You Don’t Own Me.” Yeah, some of the other songs are pre-recorded for the show, but that’s not too distracting.
By the close of the performance, the audience becomes part of the production—singing, clapping, wiggling in their seats, and whistling (or just plain catcalling, depending on your willingness to admit what it really is) at the striking dancers. Will “Baby” (played by Gillian Abbott) make the famous lift in the final dance of the season? Go see for yourself and just maybe you’ll have the time of your life! The Broadway version of Dirty Dancing is no show to miss, so “join hands and hearts and voices” and cruise on out to a performance this week!
Eleanor Bergstein’s “Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage” is part of the HCA/TriStar Health Broadway season at TPAC’s Jackson Hall and has performances all this week, September 22-27, 2015. Tickets range from $35 to $85 and can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office or online at www.tpac.org.