Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dirty Dancing at the Opera House in Boston

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We saw Dirty Dancing at the Opera House in Boston last night with hundreds of people who have watched the movie 100's of times.

Big line of the night, "nobody puts Baby in the corner". That line, when said by Johnny Castle, was recited in unison by 1,000 young girls and women of all ages. Like the circus.

That was kinda cool. A little Rocky Horror Picture Show crowd participationish. But only a little.

When we opened our program, a little slip of paper was in there to inform us that at this performance both leads will be played by understudies.

The Role of Frances "Baby" Houseman will be played by Thea Brooks and the role of Johnny Castle will be played by Easton Smith.
We were not happy, especially after reading some reviews that said both the leads were great.

So we settled in to our seats and they informed us that cell phones were not invented in 1962, when the play takes place, so we turned ours off. They also told us there was going to be a live band, but we didn't see an orchestra pit.

So what happened was that there was a mix of recorded music from the 60's and an on stage band, a small band. They were very good.

Thea Brooks
Thea Brooks, Boston Understudy for Baby, was excellent. She did a wonderful job. I can't imagine what hte lead's performance would be like after seeing Brooks in the role.

Mingay and Vincent
Brooks hosted behind the scenes videos from the Chicago production here Dirty Dancing America. Episode 4 features singers Ben Mingay and Aspen Vincent. Watch the video an be amazed at the voice that comes out of Mingay.

Mingay and Vincent were very good last night, although it's disconcerting that the lead characters are not singers in a musical. We were waiting for them to sing, but they don't. They are mainly dancers, and actors second. I'm not sure if I've ever been to a musical where the leads aren't the two strongest singers.

The set was a mixture of moving props and a four panel video screen. They also projected images on the walls and background of the stage. I thought it was very well done. These scenes from Kellerman's were very well done. I used to go to a resort like that in Connecticut called Grand Lake Lodge. They did a great job capturing the feel of a week's vacation with the scenes of poolside simon, dining room, and guest talent show.

Is it appropriate for kids? I have no idea, I'm sure they see as much or more on TV these days. There was a lot of 'dirty dancing,' and Baby and Johnny do end up spending the night together, more than once. I guess you could just tell the kids that they really like each other.

I'm not sure why the crowd was screaming and cheering when they first got together, since it's unclear whether or not they used protection. The sub plot with Penny didn't seem to be on Baby or Johnny's mind at the time.

Crazy kids.

Boston, Toronto, LA, New York
Dirty Dancing is now playing in Boston and Toronto, and heads to LA in May, prior to Broadway.

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