‘Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story Onstage’ can’t be blamed for false advertising

Christopher Tierney and Gillian Abbott get their dirty on 

I’m supposed to write a review about the stage version of Dirty Dancing, currently playing at the Cadillac Palace Theatre through August 30. However, I’m pretty sure that anything I say about this production won’t really add much value to your ticket buying decisions because a) the show is selling out, so clearly it has an innate following, and b) everyone around me seemed to be enjoying themselves to the point of a feverish standing ovation.

I will say I left the Caddy Palace dumbfounded and feeling a little dirty at what the state of commercial theatre has evolved into. In this case: a lifeless, heartless, heatless transfer of the movie’s scenes and songs on a live stage, where most of the musical milestones are recreated by a soundtrack playing the score as the actors, who look very much like their filmatic counterparts, hit all their marks with empty professionalism (not the actors’ faults, mind you – it’s just they don’t get much chance to really do anything more beyond serving as an avatar).

So, yes, this show very much lives up to the subtitle on the Playbill: “The classic story on stage.” Just don’t expect any nuance or interpretation of emotions through song (the two leads don’t warble a note), or even a real full-blown production number to elevate the action as only good musical theatre can.

It’s the movie. On stage. Full stop.

So – go? Enjoy? Christopher Tierney (the Swayze role) looks good in a black tank top and Gillian Abbot is serving up her best Jennifer Gray drag. And while baby, indeed, isn’t kept in the corner, she never really earns the spotlight, either.

“Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage” plays through August 30 at the Cadillac Palace. More info here >

2 thoughts on “‘Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story Onstage’ can’t be blamed for false advertising

  1. Is that the same Christopher Tierney who fell while playing one of the many Spider-Men? From stunt prop to Swayze status!

    1. Dan – it is, indeed! He’s perfectly fine in the part – does what he’s supposed to. He got his start at Hubbard Street. In fact, there are a few Chicago-based dancers in the cast. I just wish they had the chance to really show off their stuff.

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