Arts & Events, Lifestyle

MW Reviews … Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage (Musical) – Vanessa Tai


Dirty Dancing has come to Singapore! I can still remember the first time I watched it on television when I was in secondary school. From the first electrifying dance number, I was hooked. It was my first exposure to the many beautiful expressions the human body is capable of, and I was awed. I felt the same way yesterday during the gala premiere of Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage.

For those of you still unaware, Dirty Dancing revolves round one unforgettable summer at Kellerman Resort on Catskill Mountain. Baby Houseman, a bright-eyed and idealistic 17-year-old who dreams of joining the Peace Corps, is there on holiday with her family. What seemed like a regular family vacation transforms into Baby having the time of her life, as she stumbles (quite literally) into the heady, sexy and occasionally gritty world of the working-class staff of Kellerman’s.

The fun-loving staff of Kellerman's

The fun-loving staff of Kellerman’s

Through a series of events, she forms a friendship with the ridiculously sexy Johnny Castle, leader of the entertainment crew. With a few come-hither gazes and well-timed swivels of those magical hips, Johnny soon has Baby eating out of his hands. But it’s only when he sees her fearless side that he loses his bravado and starts falling for her too.

To me, Dirty Dancing will always be the ultimate coming-of-age tale. It traces Baby’s path of naive idealism to something that resembles more of resolute determination. Simply put, Baby leaves girlhood behind and steps into the self-assuredness of womanhood.

And of course, what could be more evocative of a blossoming woman than her first experience with romantic love?

"Breathe me in."

“Breathe me in.”

The scenes between Baby and Johnny will have you fondly reminiscing about your first love – the sweet moments, the poignant moments and oh, most of all, the sultry moments. Whenever Baby and Johnny dance, you can almost feel the heat emitting from the stage. Every single dance move was executed flawlessly, but as Johnny says, “It’s not just about the steps. You have to really feel the music.” And boy, did I feel it. Each of the dance numbers dripped with sex – the heart-pounding thrill of foreplay that leaves you with hungry eyes, flushed and eager for more.

When the musical reached its climax – Baby running into Johnny’s arms and being lifted high into the air – it’s clear the audience felt the same way as I did, with their loud whoops and cheers. I rode out of the theatre on waves of pleasure, and was still feeling high as a kite when I got home. I may or may not have been gyrating to Time of Your Life when I got home (this cannot be confirmed.)

Dirty Dancing – The Classing Story on Stage is currently playing till 16 June at MasterCard Theatres – Grand Theatre. Get your tickets at Sistic now.

Note: The author was invited to the gala premiere of Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage by Base Entertainment. All opinions are the author’s own. 

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets

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5 thoughts on “MW Reviews … Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage (Musical) – Vanessa Tai

  1. Hi all,

    I caught the musical on 26 May Sunday afternoon and it was full house, with a diverse crowd attending (I saw a minor, around 7 y-o!). As I got complimentary tickets, my seats were not near to the stage so I felt my experience was not as fantastic as what Vanessa has shared :p

    I am a big fan of the movie and its songs and felt the musical was a faithful adaptation of the movie. It was until I read the program then I realised the writer Eleanor Bergstein is also the movie scriptwriter and creator of Dirty Dancing plot! Kudos to her that the musical version is made possible!

    I felt the first part before intermission was kinda of slow and though enjoyable, did not give the same amount of energy nor built-up as in the movie. The interaction between Baby and Johnny was a bit comical rather than sexual tension at some parts and I was not sure if it was because one of the understudies for Johnny’s role was performing instead of Gareth Bailey instead (due to torn ligament).

    The second part was better, especially when it involved the popular songs associated with the movie. I felt the finale ended well and I was singing along. Somehow the musical did not top the storytelling executed through the movie.

    Notable cast:
    Frances “Baby” Houseman – Byryony
    Penny Johnson – Mila
    Dr Houseman – Mark
    Neil Kellerman – Rhys
    Mrs Houseman – Kate
    Max Kellerman – Mike
    Lisa Houseman – Genna
    Ensemble – the female cast
    One of the male ensemble who sang “In the still of the night”

    The musical is strictly for fans and if you do not embrace the story and its message through the movie and the songs, you may find it boring, like in the case of my companion (haha!).

    You can refer to more information via, which I find the comments balanced:

    p/s: I wish there has been a wider range of DD merchandise I can choose from!



  2. jefwy says:

    Well, if you consider that couple of lines out of the entire article to be indicative of a “review” of the show, I have nothing else to say. It seems more of an advertorial to me. I found your reply more reflective of a review of the musical than your article. Perhaps you might have a different idea of what a review is or should be. May I suggest you check out Roger Ebert’s work? His reviews are immaculate.

    Anyway, it’s just my two-cents worth.


  3. jefwy says:

    I don’t understand how this is a review in any way when all you do is recount the story, information that we can easily grab off Wikipedia. We all know the storyline. Isn’t the whole point of a review to give an opinion of the show? I think as a writer, you have failed in this basic aspect. There was not a single hint of how good or bad the musical was whatsoever.


    • Hi Jefwy

      Thank you for your feedback.

      I am a bit puzzled why you said I did not offer my opinion. Perhaps my positive feedback of the show did not come through enough. In the fourth and fifth paragraphs, I mentioned the emotions that ran through me while watching the musical.

      Overall, I found Dirty Dancing a fantastic musical where the performers executed their dance moves perfectly and with great emotions.

      I hope this review has not put you off watching the musical. It would be a real pity if I had in any way dampened your enthusiasm for it.

      Thank you for your feedback nonetheless.



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