Dirty Dancing Down Memory Lane

Dirty Dancing Down Memory Lane

(I’ve had) the Time of my Life, okay so maybe not OF MY LIFE, but it was This Magic Moment.  This week I was invited to see Dirty Dancing On Tour and it was a magical moment that brought me back to the days I would rewind my tape soundtrack of Dirty Dancing and play the same songs over and over again.  There are so many songs I knew by heart and choreographed dances too in my living room.

  • Hungry Eyes
  • Do you love me?
  • I’ve Had the Time of My Life

I brought my daughter to see Dirty Dancing, which was maybe The Greatest Showman of my time. She asked me why there were so many “old people” in the audience. I forgave her though because She’s Like the Wind and Love is Strange.  I explained that if The Greatest Showman became a musical in thirty years, she’d be that old and so would most of the audience.

Okay so part of what I love, love, loved…was remembering all the songs from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. They were so gushy and romantic, so catchy and dancy. The trip down memory lane was nice and sweet, but that was just one part of the Dirty Dancing On Tour experience. It was the part I expected.

What I didn’t expect was the voice of MLK Jr. on the radio. The I have a dream speech “in real time”. I got emotional not because of MLK’s words but because of the context within which I was listening to them.  This year, politically has been a rough one to say the least, and who knew that watching a throwback like Dirty Dancing would be an outlet for some of that pent up frustration.  That’s why the arts are more than just a show.

The classic story of us vs. them doesn’t really ever change.  This story is very different from Jagged Little Pill’s and yet most of the friction is still the same with just different players on either side of the fence. The sibling rivalries and love are in both shows, but again so different.  The need for parent approval is another theme that we all live in some way or another.

The greatest outlet of all though, was the music and the dancing.  It wasn’t Patrick Swayze on the stage, but Aaron Patrick Craven slid across the stage and had a swagger worthy of a Johnny Castle.  When paired with Anaïs Blake as Penny they were definitely on the “hot tamale train”.  When it came to the music, a rhumba down memory lane with the whole audience was a lot of fun!  Singers Nickolaus Colõn and Erica Philpot brought fire to the stage setting the town throughout the soundtrack.  Kaleigh Court was an excellent Baby with just the right amount of naiveté and innocence and the famous lift is impressive in a movie setting, but on stage it is even more heart-stopping.

Dirty Dancing on Tour is playing at the Shubert Theatre Boch Center in Boston through tomorrow, Sunday June 17th and then can be seen in Portland, Maine June 18th and 19th.

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