“Dirty Dancing” at the Orpheum Theatre: Better left on screen


Dirty Dancing just recently opened at the Orpheum and I am sure you are all remembering giggly movie nights staring at Patrick Swayze and dreaming of dancing with him. I had not seen the movie going in and was excited to be presented with the story for the first time on the stage. I am sad to say that I was quite disappointed. The show was lacking in the acting department and the story only vaguely came across- a girl named Baby learning to dance while she is on vacation and, despite all their differences, falling in love with her instructor, Johnny. I got none of the depth, none of the touching moments, none of the emotion roller coaster I lovingly expect from cheesy stories such as this.

The costumes caught my eye right away- swirly twirly 60s dresses in pretty colors, dancing along with them through the show. The stage however, did not impress me. The video clips thrown in were strange and seemed excessive and distracting at points. I feel the message would have been gotten across without us saying in our minds “wow- a huge screen!”. The innovation was there, just not the execution.

The dancing in the show was spectacular and my main enjoyment in the show. It was obvious this was the main thing the casting director cared about when casting the show. Baby was even fairly good at pretending to be bad at dancing in the beginning, though the transition between good and bad was not there. There were flips and lifts and twirls- and rock n’ roll.

The show itself seemed to rush through the content- with the amount of time they had they could have taken time to slow down and let us live in a moment to feel the emotion. However, the characters clearly lacked the chemistry needed to make us feel each moment with them. Baby and Johnny never really had a moment where they really started to like each other- it went from hate to sex in a matter of seconds- and never seemed genuine.

Overall, the show would be more enjoyable if you have seen the movie- its so similar that you can pick out whats the same. You will understand the story and still enjoy the dancing, costumes, and theatre aspect of the show. I must say though- if you have not seen the movie, this is one to skip- the story will be lost and you will leave disappointed.