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Home arrow Reviews arrow Reviews By Scott arrow Reviews By Scott arrow Dirty Dancing is Bliss for Die Hard Movie Fans
Dirty Dancing is Bliss for Die Hard Movie Fans PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Scott Lewis   
Jul 08, 2015 at 08:14 PM

Photo by Matthew Murphy
 Dirty Dancing was the movie that almost was not.  It scored so terribly in test screenings there was serious discussion of bypassing a theatrical release and sending the film direct to video. As we know the film was released in theaters and it went on to become a major blockbuster leading to a sequel and the stage version of the movie now touring the US.

This show is custom made for the diehard fan of the movie; it is tightly wed to the movie, with book by the original screenwriter Eleanor Bernstein.  All promotional material calls this Dirty Dancing, The Classic Story on Stage and that is an accurate description of what you are in for.  This is not Dirty Dancing the Musical.  No one has taken this movie and reimagined it into a grand Broadway musical the way others have done (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde).  This literally is the movie on stage.  The use of a lot of video projection and a giant LED screen that is leaned on heavily stand as a constant reminder that you are watching a live version of the classic film.

Taking place entirely in the summer of 1963 at a Catskill Mountains resort there are attempts at making the story about more than the dancing with audio clips of Martin Luther King, Jr’s I have a Dream speech and a subplot about a botched abortion performed when they were illegal.

All these attempts do little to overcome the abundance of overacting, choppy staging and heavy reliance on prerecorded music.   For me the show took a wrong turn when the nearly all white case sang “We Shall Overcome” around a camp fire.  One of the group was about  to head off to register Black voters in Mississippi.  It was awkward at best.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

A stand out in this cast is Jerome Harmann-Hardeman as Tito Suarez.  He is the singing bandleader that is a real highlight of the show.  He is a bright light on the stage anytime he graces it and the band he leads is perfection.

The real star of this show is powerhouse Jennlee Shallow.  She has the presence of Patti Labelle, like Labelle I think she could go without any amplification and you would still be able to hear her pure clear voice in the back of the theater.  Her rendition of “You Don’t Own Me” inspired chills.

Dancing is a show for the diehard fan of the film.  The theater was filled with people who appeared to know the lines before they were spoken, who knew the intro chords to every pre-recorded song.  If you are a fan of the movie you will love this live production.
Photo by Matthew Murphy

For those looking for a night of Broadway caliber theater, this show has never made it to the great white way and there are shows gracing the Bass stage in the coming months that are amazing Broadway shows, you should wait for them.

Dirty Dancing runs through Sunday at Fort Worth’s Bass Hall.  Tickets are $44.-$143. depending on performance.  Tickets are available at http://www.basshall.com/  Now is the time to grab season tickets.  The upcoming season at Bass is a knock out featuring some of the best shows I have seen including the must see shows The Book of Mormon, Kinky Boots and Cameron Mackintosh’s incredible new production of Phantom of the Opera.



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