A great balance between music and dance, this Broadway adaptation of “Dirty Dancing” captivates and keeps you on your toes with humorous anecdotes. Not straying very far from the original story line, there is an even bigger emotional connection to the characters of Baby and Johnny as their time on stage allows their chemistry to grow. Gillian Abbott (“Baby”) encompasses the true spirit of her character and flawlessly convinces that she had nothing in her repertoire at the start of the show. Full of quality, show-stopping dance numbers, this show does not disappoint both the dance and musical lover with two smaller cast members stealing the show. Doug Carpenter (“Billy Kostecki”) and Jennlee Shallow (“Ensemble”) with their duet and individual solos are what really sent audiences cheering through the roof.

The key factor that makes this musical so unique is the balance between the music and dance talent.

“I think it’s special like that,” Christopher Tierney said. “As leads of the show we have our parts, but it’s great that you get these other two singers who who get to be their own leads.”

Photo via Wharton Center for Performing Arts at Michigan State University
Photo via Wharton Center for Performing Arts at Michigan State University

The show basically gives you two tiers of people enjoying the show, and the characters for different reasons. The live music on set certainly helps, of course.

The diversity of this production’s cast shows on and off stage. Lead actor Christopher Tierney, who plays Johnny Castle, has the most experience with the show as this is his second tour of “Dirty Dancing” with the same director.

His dance experience started at the young age of 12. “I got that bug and I just kept making the next right choice,” he said. “I joined dance companies, met great choreographers who brought me to great movie directors, who also brought me to Broadway.”

A fun fact from Tierney: he never watched the original film to study his character. This may come as a surprising fact because the consensus reigns that Tierney actually looks very much, and even sounds like Patrick Swayze!

On the other end of the spectrum, this is Jenny Winton’s first Broadway production. Winton plays Penny in the show and although her character flows on the dance floor with ballroom dance, she is classically trained in ballet.

On her connection with her character, she said, “I’ve just drawn on certain things in my life and we both share the passion for dance.”

Winton commented that since her character has multiple layers, it really gives her the opportunity to express parts of her personality that not everyone sees. Dancing on “Dirty Dancing” has opened many new doors for Winton and she wants to continue to explore her options in theatre and dance.

“I think it’s a story, that no matter what generation you’re in, you can relate to,” Winton said. “The passion for dancing and music is so relatable because these songs are so iconic.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *