Dirty Dancing – the classic love story – will be brought to life, live on stage for Purdue Convocations’ 2016-17 Season on September 10 at Elliott Hall of Music. An exceptional cast of actors, singers and dancers and production crew will be in residence for two weeks at Purdue as they prepare to launch the North American tour from Elliott Hall of Music. This beloved, coming-of-age story has been celebrated by audiences worldwide since its movie debut and continues to maintain record-breaking DVD and download sales. The film’s soundtrack not only sold more than 44 million copies, it received a Golden Globe®, Academy Award® and a Grammy® for the hit song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”
Eleanor Bergstein wrote the script. She started with the songs she wanted to use then wrote the story against them. She knew what music she wanted playing behind each scene. She wanted the music to function as the soundtrack of the story and of the characters’ hearts. It is filled with number one hits from the 1960’s and created additional hits for the movie that include “Hungry Eyes” and “She’s Like the Wind.” The soundtrack and the way it is used in the film helped catapult the film to great success on the screen and now on the stage.
The captivating story takes place at a lavish vacation resort named Kellerman’s in upstate New York during the summer of 1963 and centers around the relationship between an idealistic young girl Frances “Baby” Houseman and handsome working class dance instructor Johnny Castle.
Baby, on summer vacation with her family before she starts college, is the embodiment of early ’60’s idealism and eager to make her mark on the world.
“That was the summer of 1963. When everybody called me Baby and it didn’t occur to me to mind. That was before President Kennedy got shot, before The Beatles came, when I couldn’t wait to join the Peace Corps and I thought I’d never find a guy as great as my dad. That was the summer we went to Kellerman’s,” says Baby at the start.
At the resort, curious Baby finds herself wandering into the late night Dirty Dancing room of the Kellerman’s staff, to discover a world unknown by the resort’s upstairs guests. The music, the dancing, the ambiance of raw sensuality it something she has never experienced before. It is exciting, thrilling.
The staff kids are dancing to the rhythm and blues music and a beat that has not yet surfaced above ground to the middle class world of the Kellerman’s guests.
A brief dance with Johnny awakens a response in Baby to music she has never known, rhythms she didn’t know were either in the world or inside her.
The story unfolds when Baby volunteers to stand in for Penny, Johnny’s long time dance partner. As Johnny is teaching Baby to dance, an attraction between these two very different people develops, which results in scenes full of heart-pounding music, passionate dancing and wild emotion. The story climaxes when Johnny and Baby’s relationship is publicly revealed and Johnny is about to be fired, needing Baby to sacrifice her family to protect him. It is when Johnny returns, and they give a glorious final dance of the summer season in front of the guests, that the triumphant power of dance to connect oneself to the real world — to honor truth, joy and true love — spills over into the Kellerman’s guests and the theater audience.