The cast and crew of Dirty Dancing was in residency for a 2 week time period leading up to their September 10 performance on Purdue’s campus. During that time period, theatre and dance students were able to participate in master classes and attend a tech rehearsal on Friday, September 9. As breaks occurred, crew members would stop by and talk to the students about what was happening on stage. They had the opportunity to meet the Associate Set Designer, Christine Peters, who described the technical and scenic elements that were incorporated into the rehearsal. Christine led the students on a back stage tour as the actors prepared for a full tech dress rehearsal. The students observed the high level of organization the tour has to maintain to run efficiently. They saw local crew members working side by side with touring crew and the level of organization required to help everyone learn their job quickly and accurately.
This was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had during my time as an undergraduate at Purdue! – Amy Cole, theatre student
Due to tornado sirens sounding during the dress rehearsal, cast, crew, and the students there to observe were forced to shelter twice in the basement Purdue Bands and Orchestras rooms. Everyone was safe, and the amazing cast and crew, on their own, made good use of the time by turning it into a question and answer session for the students in attendance. Although the students were unable to see a full performance, the time spent with the cast and crew was invaluable. Theater student Amy Cole described the experience as, “incredibly unique and informative. This was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had during my time as an undergraduate at Purdue!”
During the impromptu question and answer session, the students were able to meet Eleanor Bergstein, the writer of both the film and the stage production of Dirty Dancing. The scripts are based largely on her own childhood. The students also received advice on working on a touring production. The students were impressed with the welcoming nature of the entire cast and crew during what could have been a scary situation. As Amy Cole stated, “Thank you again for this amazing opportunity. It was an absolutely unforgettable night.”