Dirty Dancing The Musical: Meet the real-life Johnny and Baby and how Patrick Swayze inspired them
3 February 2022, 15:36
Dirty Dancing has a special place in our hearts, and fans can now enjoy the classic Patrick Swayze film in a fantastic new musical tour.
Celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2022, Dirty Dancing returns this year as Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage - a super-fun stage adaptation of the iconic movie.
Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage features hit songs from the movie including ‘Hungry Eyes’, ‘Hey! Baby’, ‘Do You Love Me?’, 'She's Like the Wind' and of course, ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’.
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Having originally opened back in 2006, the musical has returned to London's West End at the Dominion Theatre until April 16, before continuing on tour throughout the UK until the end of May.
This year's production sees returning cast members Michael O'Reilly as Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) and Kira Malou as Frances 'Baby' Houseman (Jennifer Grey).
Michael and Kira are an item in real life, and the couple make their West End debuts in the show, which is a must-see for all fans of the original film.
Smooth Radio's Paul Phear caught up with Michael and Kira about the show, and they revealed that they had very different entry points to the classic movie.
"My mum was a big fan of the film, and I actually remember it being on in our house when I was younger," Kira told us. "And my mum would close my eyes during the more raunchy parts of it.
"But I rediscovered it when I was 17 years old, and I would just watch it, and rewind it, and play it again. So I was pretty obsessed as a teenager. And I’m rediscovering it again by doing the shows.
Michael said: "It wasn’t until I was 21, when I was in the audition room for this. We were doing the scene, and I was trying to get the correct feel. And [the director] goes, 'Michael, for this, we just kind of want to get the atmosphere of the film. It’s really important to get that relationship. Do you understand?'
"And I was like, 'Of course. I know exactly what you’re saying.' And I had never seen it before. So the first time I watched it was that night. After the audition, I ran home. I watched it. I was like, 'Oh, no. I get what he means now!'"
Michael also spoke of his love for Patrick Swayze, saying: "He grew up dancing. He did a lot of ballet in Texas. I think that Patrick is one of those few people that has the ability to make anything look cool. You know, he’s so captivating.
"When you watch him in films or see him on telly – he had an amazing career. Everything he did had so much passion and so much soul."
On what it's like to work so closely together as a couple, Kira said: "Yes, it’s really special. I find it special!"
Michael added: "Yeah, it’s lovely. We met when we did the tour in 2018, and our first kind of experience together was touring, and living together in the day, and doing the shows at night. We were pretty inseparable for those first 12 months.
"And afterwards, we’ve been apart. We’ve worked in different countries. We’ve locked down in different places. So to be back together, doing the show, is really special."
Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story on Stage plays at London's West End at the Dominion Theatre until April 16, before continuing on tour throughout the UK until the end of May. Full ticket details can be found here.