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Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage

Written By: Angela Hatcher

Runtime: Segerstrom Hall
February 3 – 15, 2015
Tuesdays – Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays at 2 & 7:30 p.m.
Sundays at 1 & 6:30 p.m.

dirty dancing
“You just put your pickle on everybody’s plate and leave the hard stuff to me, college boy.”—Dirty Dancing

Okay, this may not be the most familiar line from Eleanor Bergstein’s iconic Dirty Dancing, but when sexy bad boy Johnny (Samuel Pergande) says it— it translates! With a portrait of hot summer love, a legendary song list, and electrifying dancing, Segerstrom Hall’s current production of Dirty Dancing busts out all the right moves. And with dancing at the forefront, the talented high-kicking ensemble puts on a tireless eye-popping performance from start to finish.

Bergstein’s stage adaptation stays true to the movie, and in a Cinderella-sized perfect fit, the adorable and perky Jillian Mueller slips easily into Baby’s dance shoes. For anyone who may not know the story, its 1963, and headstrong seventeen-year-old Frances “Baby” Houseman is on a family vacation at Kellerman’s exclusive Mountain Resort in the Catskills. Unlike her older sister, pretty Lisa (Emily Rice) whose main focus is boys and clothes, Baby is the more serious college-bound type. She is the type who typically stays out of “teenage” trouble, but has strong opinions and concerns about social issues and human rights. There is an obvious class distinction between the guests and the hotel staff, but that doesn’t stop inquisitive Baby from nosing around the “underbelly” of the resort. Baby discovers the employees’ quarters where sultry, sexy, grinding and gyrating dirty dancing is a favorite pastime. This is part of sullen and intensely independent, dance instructor Johnny’s private world. Fascinated by the hot-blooded, sweat dripping “beefcake” and his crew, Baby wants in.


Determined to become Johnny’s dance partner for an upcoming public performance of his, Baby eventually gets her way. Johnny is the dance teacher and outcast with an edge, and he puts her through a rigorous and relentless training program. Baby never gives up, and while she starts out convincingly clumsy, her complete transformation from awkward teen with two left feet to passionate, sensual and gifted dancer is unbelievably realistic. The audience is almost willing her to “get it, ” and when she does, Baby (Mueller) shows off some incredibly sexy and mad dance skills as she glides across the stage in the arms of the smoking hot dancing sensation, Johnny Castle (Pergande).

Along with the cast’s perfect timing and remarkable dancing feet,
The oldies’ doo wop, ‘60s chart toppers, scintillating Latin rhythms, swing, and ‘80s throwback music adds to the star power in this brilliant retelling of the beloved love story from the movie. Sure, there is more to the story, but it’s the talented cast, the music, the dancing, the sights and sounds that make this show an absolute stand out. The touring company’s synth tracks, recorded music, and featured orchestra balanced on an upper level of the set add a delightful sizzle to this rich and spicy musical.


And, there’s more: the vocalists are outstanding. Jennlee Shallow is the soloist in “This Magic Moment, ” and thanks to her – it is one! John Antony rocks the house with his number “Do You Love Me?” Joshua Keith’s “De Todo Un Poco” is full of zest, and Rachel Boone, Jennlee Shallow, and Paul Victor’s “We Shall Overcome” is heartfelt.

The design team including: Set Designer, Stephen Brimson Lewis, Video and Projection Designer, John Driscoll, Lighting Designer, Tim Mitchell, and Sound Designer, Bobby Aiken brings amazingly elaborate and sophisticated hi-tech drama to the theater. With fantastic technological and revolutionary innovation, Segerstrom’s vast stage is filled with wondrous settings. There is seamless transformation from expansive mountain scenes and splashing water-filled lakes to idyllic green fields, the inside of the resort hotel restaurant, a lush golf course, and Johnny’s bungalow.


A memorable and red hot scene, where romance is definitely heating up, takes place in Johnny’s room where Baby and Johnny disappear behind a projection of closed doors. The exciting creative scenery and mood rendering lighting effects is so incredibly picture perfect that the audience can be overheard “oohing” and “ahhing.” Actors and scenes fade in and out of the set with a clearly defined presence and space.

Because of the technical aspects of the show, the illusion of watching the movie comes to life as realistic as one may imagine, and it teeters on the edge of sheer wonderment. The accomplished cast includes; Emily Rice as Baby’s sister, Lisa (she is hilarious in her Hula number), Caralyn Kozlowski as Baby’s Mom, Marjorie, and Mark Elliot Wilson as Baby’s Dad, Dr. Jake Houseman. As the finale begins with the anticipated “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life, ” the audience is already on its feet with a deafening applause. It’s true; they’ve ALL had the time of their lives.

Written by Eleanor Bergstein; Executive Producer: Seth Wenig; Director: James Powell; Original Choreography: Kate Champion; Choreography: Michele Lynch; Music Supervisor and Orchestrations: Conrad Helfrich; Set Designer: Stephen Brimson Lewis; Lighting Designer: Tim Mitchell; Costume Designer: Jennifer Irwin; Sound Designer: Bobby Aiken; Video and Projection Designer: Jon Driscoll; Ballroom and Latin Choreographer: Craig Wilson; Music Director: Alan J. Plado;

Segerstrom Center for the Arts
600 Town Center Way
Costa Mesa, CA 92626