Arts & Theater

‘Dirty Dancing’ grooves in Folsom

‘Baby’ and Johnny in Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage.
‘Baby’ and Johnny in Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage. Courtesy of Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage

“Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage” is kicking off its North American tour at the Harris Center in Folsom.

The stage presentation is an evolution of the original story, which turned 30 this year. Seventeen-year-old Frances “Baby” Houseman is on vacation with her family in the Catskills, and becomes mesmerized by the racy dance moves she glimpses in the Kellerman’s resort staff quarters. Her life changes forever when she becomes dance instructor Johnny Castle’s leading lady.

There’s more time, which means the summer of 1963 lasts a little longer. There’s a lot more about Baby (Kaleigh Courts) and Johnny (Aaron Patrick Craven) and more about their parents.

The show runs Oct. 5-7.

Eleanor Bergstein, the screenwriter and co-producer of “Dirty Dancing” also was responsible for the stage adaptation. She wrote the play book, and has added 20 new scenes, 36 numbers of live music and an eight-piece orchestra.

Beloved songs from the movie such as “Hungry Eyes,” “Do You Love Me?” and “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” complete the show’s live soundtrack, along with those iconic dance scenes: on the log, on the bridge, on the dance floor and in the resort staff quarters. Songs are performed by the orchestra or as live recordings.

The stage production has been running for more than 10 years, visiting four continents and more than 20 countries.

Johnny and Baby’s relationship has had a lasting appeal because they learn from one another and become better, braver people.

But the story is also appealing because of its genuine celebration of dance, said Bergstein.

“I think everybody has a secret dancer inside them,” Bergstein said.

Bergstein resisted bringing “Dirty Dancing” to the stage for 20 years because she thought it wasn’t necessary. Bergstein’s change of heart was inspired, in part, by a Bruce Springsteen concert she saw after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists attacks that expressed hope and possibility during a fragile, uncertain time. The recent civil unrest is reminiscent of that in 1963, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

“Suddenly the world has become, very much to my sorrow, like the world Baby was trying to change in ‘63,” Bergstein said.

Bergstein remains modest about the success of the movie, which was given a cold reception before the public saw it. Bergstein heard one producer’s advice was to “burn the negatives and take the insurance.”

“We thought it would have about a week in the theater then go onto a video and disappear,” she said. “I have fans of this movie now whose parents had not met and had sex yet when this movie came out.”

Dirty Dancing

When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6 and 7.

Where: Harris Center for the Arts at Folsom Lake College, 10 College Pkwy, Folsom

Cost: $49-$79; Premium, $89. Friday matinee single tickets get 10 percent discount

Info: https://www.harriscenter.net; 916-608-6888

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