From Nov ’08 Spotlight: Regular readers of this column already know that I am a huge fan of Dirty Dancing, Eleanor Bergstein’s semi-autobiographical Catskill’s coming-of-age film. (I wrote about it in glowing terms in my June ’07 Spotlight after seeing it again on the big screen at a 20th anniversary celebration at the AMC River East.) So I must admit I bought tickets to the new theatrical version now playing at the Cadillac Palace with some trepidation, but my anxiety was totally misplaced: the stage version is even better than the film!
The set design is spectacular using state of the art techniques to put the audience right in the middle of the action: Kellerman’s Hotel has a golf course and a lake, days of pouring rain followed by blazing summer sunsets. Costumes are gorgeous and period perfect with layers of crinolines and tiny waists, and I don’t have room here for all the superlatives I’d need to describe the singing and dancing. But for all that, the core of the story stays true and Bergstein has even added dialogue (especially for Baby’s mother “Marjorie”) that connects some of the dots implicit in the original.
Chicago is hosting the American premiere after successful runs in London, Sydney, and Toronto. When it leaves here in mid-December, it goes on to Boston and LA before making its Broadway debut. I urge you to get tickets (if they’re still available by the time this issue reaches you). For details, call the Cadillac Palace box office at (312)-902-1400 or visit the official website: www.dirtydancingamerica.com.