Previewed 28 September 2006, Opened 24 October 2006, Closed 9 July 2011 at the Aldwych Theatre
Returned 13 July 2013, Closed 22 February 2014 at the Piccadilly Theatre
Returned 6 December 2016, Closed 31 December 2016 at the Phoenix Theatre
The hit stage musical Dirty Dancing in London for a strictly limited run of just 30 performances!
It was just another summer vacation... but it turned out to be the time of her life - Dirty Dancing the Musical - the stage show - is based on the 1987 film which starred Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey and was set in 1960s America. The story takes place at a holiday resort called Kellerman's in Catskill, New York during the summer of 1963 and centres around the relationship between daddy's girl, Frances 'Baby' Houseman, and a talented, intense and handsome dance instructor, Johnny Castle. Summer of 1963 is endless with everyone having 'the times of their lives' and true love teaching the world the healing power of dance. After a sensational West End run of just under five at the Aldwych Theatre from 2006 to 2011, Dirty Dancing returns to London!
Please Note: Parental guidance is advised. The show features a limited amount of mild swearing and themes of a sexual nature. Persons under 16 years of age will strictly not be admitted unless accompanied by an adult of 18 years of age or older. Children under five years of age and babes in arms will strictly not be admitted.
This production was originally seen at the Aldwych Theatre in 2006 (previewed from 28 September 2006, opened on 24 October 2006 and closed on 9 July 2011), returning to the Piccadilly Theatre in 2013 (from 13 July 2013 and closed on 22 February 2014).
"Set in 1963, the year JFK was shot and Martin Luther King had a dream, and, in the case of Dirty Dancing, when Johnny taught Baby to dance, and much more besides. The new Dirty Dancing nods clunkily at King's dream, but is more concerned with the teenage girls who made the 1987 movie a massive success. Doubtless, those grown-up girls are now responsible for smashing West End records with advance sales of more than £12 million. All they want is the time of their lives all over again, to hear that legendary line 'No one puts Baby in the corner', because it's living proof that dreams come true, that ugly ducklings become swans, and that someone with two left feet can win Strictly Come Dancing. And it's all there. Just as every word is in place, so James Powell's slick production faithfully stages all the film's magic moments with the help of video projections. There's the goofing around on the log, the ride in the car, Johnny's bedroom in the woods. Mostly it's slavish, but it can be hilarious - unintentionally, I suspect - when Johnny and Baby practise their lifts in the lake, immersing themselves in the celluloid projection, then, of course, emerging bone dry. I missed the intimacy of the movie, the sweat and the tears. Though the dirty dancing - as the staff of Kellerman's upmarket Jewish holiday resort let off steam - is good and steamy." The Mail on Sunday
"Dirty Dancing is a variation of the Ugly Duckling story that is set in 1963. Earnest, insecure Frances 'Baby' Houseman goes with her parents to an upscale holiday camp in the Catskills and becomes a bit of a sylph, siren, saint and swan. She quickly tires of bingo or hairdressing lessons and invades the servants' quarters. With them, there's none of the sedate fox-trotting she's seen clumsily perpetrated by guests in naff shorts. Instead, there's energetic swirling and swivelling, pelvic thrusting, and girls bending back to form question marks then flying up like exclamation marks as their men lift them to the skies... All this is brilliantly staged, but raises an obvious question. Why not get a DVD of the movie, where such things occur more seamlessly? Yet I found myself warming to Bergstein's modern fairy story and to the principals: Brown, elegant of mind and spirit as well as body, and Rich, growing in assurance, skill and beauty as she takes her life into her own hands - and, of course, her own feet." The Times
"If ever you needed proof that the West End has been overtaken by musicals, then look no further than the venerable old Aldwych, once home to the equally venerable Royal Shakespeare Company but now having its roof lifted off to the sound of Dirty Dancing. And if your idea of a new musical is an old 1987 movie made over into a kind of three-dimensional DVD, then this is the one for you. It looks like a very extended edition of Strictly Come Dancing but lovers of the film will find it all here: the swimming scene, the log across the river. All is carefully brought to life with the help of back-projection screens to reassure you that you haven't wandered too far from a cinema after all... References to President Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr and the birth of the Peace Corps attempt to give the show some sort of historical context but Dirty Dancing is locked in a time warp of its own anywhere and anytime you can go dance your troubles away, be they sexual, social or even racial. The show is billed as 'the classic story on stage' but if you can find a coherent plot in there you're a better detective than me." The Daily Express
"You will need to have seen the 1987 film starring Patrick Swayze to understand a word of the musical and indeed the programme concedes this - 'most of the audience will know the story well, very often by heart', it states, rather sadly. I am afraid I never did see the film and for that reason I didn't understand a lot of what was being said and done on stage. Or maybe, like the youngster who declared that the emperor was wearing no clothes, I understood too much. The plot, so far as it can be described as a plot, is about a boy who meets a girl and dances with her and that, I am afraid, is about it. The action appears to be being played out on the set used for the Tracy family's home in Thunderbirds... Even the greatest of actors however would have had a problem competing with Jon Driscoll's 'video design'. His endless back projections of moving images seem to all but defeat the purpose of live performance and certainly theatre. One started to ponder, towards the end, why he didn't simply project the entire original film and be done with it." The Sunday Telegraph
"Dirty Dancing on stage may cut a rug but it doesn't cut the mustard as the great mega-musical we anticipated. Sure, the dancing is sometimes dynamic, although by today's standards not remotely dirty. But in terms of plot and performance, it's more a slow foxtrot. Anyone who doesn't know the story must have been asleep since 1987 when Patrick Swayze boogied to stardom in the hit movie... Between all the hoofing, director James Powell's production offers snatches of mild humour and stilted dialogue, some of which is so excruciatingly delivered it provokes unscheduled laughter. No matter, the show will probably have younger patrons clapping along to its Sixties songbook music for years. Huge advance bookings almost guarantee success - so much so that champagne was dispensed free to all at the premiere. Great. Shame the show doesn't have that much fizz." The Sun
Five months before opening in 2006, the producers of Dirty Dancing in London announced that over £3 million worth of tickets had been sold in the first six weeks of tickets going on sale. A spokesperson for the show said: "This show has become the fastest to achieve such a level of sales in such a short period of time - this is unprecedented demand." By time of the first preview it had sold some £11 million worth of tickets, making it the fastest-selling show in London's West End history.
The author of Dirty Dancing Eleanor Bergstein said about the stage musical version: "Most of the audience will know the story well, very often by heart, and the great new pleasure we can give them is the sense that what they know and love is still in front of them, but by virtue of being here at this live performance, they are experiencing more of it in a more intense and personal way. We will try to make our audience feel that they are guests at Kellerman's, living inside the story, involved in the action instead of watching from a distance in a darkened room wishing they could be there... We will add to the excitement of live theatre by adopting the fast paced rhythms and textures of cinematic time cuts and juxtapositions. We will accomplish the fluid transition of scenes by shifting focus to another part of the stage where something else - something new and surprising - is also happening. A number of scenes have been added that take place before, after, or at the same time as the scenes that our loyal fan base remembers. This allows us to expand the movie while still remaining faithful to its natural rhythm and flow.... By the end of the evening, the audience will have had a live adventure in a world that is larger, fuller and closer than the movie they have come to know. They have been granted full physical access to Baby and Johnny's world, and with the live music, expanded characters and additional scenes, a sense of surprise is added to a story they thought they knew by heart. It's like having extra days at Kellerman's."
Dirty Dancing in London at the Phoenix Theatre opened on 6 December 2016 and closed on 31 December 2016