— By Jen Cunningham
And just like that, it was 1987. I was a kid trying to sneak and watch my Mom’s favorite movie with her. She always let me watch it, I just had to leave the room during the racy parts. Can you fathom…that was racy in 1987, but time has evolved and Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey still captivate the hearts of even the most skeptical romantic.
Walking into the Fabulous Fox, I was slightly skeptical. How on earth could you take an 80’s classic like Dirty Dancing, and turn it into a musical? Then the house lights fell and the stage quickly grabbed the audience by the hand, and we were all at Kellermans in the summer of 1963.
Rachel Boone made her company debut as Frances “Baby” Houseman. Boone started in the original tour in 2014 as a dancer. I think Jennifer Grey herself would have smiled at Rachel’s rendition of Baby Houseman. She was cute and awkward, and evolved on stage just as Grey herself did in 1987.
Sometimes its heartbreaking when you realize that Swayze never got the chance to see things like Dirty Dancing come to life on stage. Christopher Tierney, was a beautiful choice as Johnny Castle. His dancing and body language brought the story to life. Sometimes it’s not always the words that bring the story to life, its the movement, the facial expressions… things that in my opinion, can’t be taught.
So, despite some of the opening night jitters, this show was amazing. Penny definitely landed heads up, after being dropped in the opening number. Jennifer Mealani Jones played the role of Penny Johnson, and held it together like a boss during that opening number. I was in the second row, so I’m sure the error was more noticeable to those of us who gasped in fear for her, than those who were further back in the theatre.
The show wrapped up and even the men in the audience were captivated by its content. There was never a slow moment. The momentum and talent of this company was very impressive. Good luck to Rachel Boone, I wish her the best on the rest of this tour. I can’t imagine a better fit for Baby. To Christopher Tierney, I think I speak for most women at this show when I say, Thank You for giving us a glimpse of Patrick Swayze, a man taken far too soon. You captured the true spirit of Johnny Castle.
The standing ovation was well deserved!!!
Thanks again for the dance!