The kind people at the Birmingham Hippodrome invited me along to an exclusive press launch for the first ever national tour of “Dirty Dancing” today. First of all, I’m not going to lie; I’ve never seen the movie or the stage show – I’ve been living under a rock...The event was held at Aston Villa Football Ground and included a tour of the ground, drinks reception, lunch, exclusive performances from cast members and a Q&A / photo session.
Upon arrival we were greeted nicely and offered drinks before being shown a stadium tour. The tour included seeing the conference rooms, the pitch and (my favourite part) seeing the home team’s dressing room. I was amazed by the rooms – who knew there were hidden safes behind the team’s shirts? (I’m gonna guess anyone who loves football already knew this...)
After bumping into same familiar faces from other Hippodrome events fellow blogger Alex and I made our way to the main event...
Sitting at one of the press tables, chit chat and socialising was at the top of the agenda - I need to get used to these events and remember that when someone asks “where are you from?” they don’t mean my area, they’re in fact asking me what newspaper, company, ticket agent or TV / radio station I’m from. Following on from a lovely lunch provided by the Hippodrome / Villa Ground, the event began.
James Leece and Charlotte Gooch burst onto stage performing the “Mambo” number: a hot Latin sequence with lifts galore. Karl Sydow (producer of the production) then took to stage to give the audience a general talk about the film, the show and the new tour. Chris Holland and Shonagh Daly then gave us an amazing performance of the song “Do You Love Me?" before all five of the Dirty Dancers held an open question and answer session.
Some interesting questions from the crowd revealed that the tour will include all the famous scenes from the movie (including the water scene, the log scene and of course the infamous lift) and that the production will follow closely to that of the recently closed West End show. However, the original set has been slightly adapted for touring venues (like every other big West End tour). The cast also told some quirky anecdotes about the “lift” going wrong in performances. Who knows? Maybe you’re there the night when Baby’s family have to stop her from face-planting the stage. Before going, the cast gave an extraordinary performance of the famous song “Time of My Life”.
The Hippodrome also revealed today that Dirty Dancing will be the last production to be performed on the current stage. On the 12th August 2012 the theatre will close its doors to undergo a million pound redevelopment of the main stage: a deck that has been there for decades and has seen some of entertainment’s most famous faces perform on it.
After a photo call it was time to leave; my train was full of other audience members discussing how excited they are to see the show (most of them have booked tickets over a year in advance).
Recently closed at the Aldwych Theatre, Dirty Dancing opened in the West End in 2006, breaking all box office records with advance ticket sales of over £15 million, which made it the fastest-selling show in West End history. It has since played to over 1 million people, receiving nightly standing ovations and continuing to enthral and delight. The show is sure to sell out at the Hippodrome soon so booking early is advisable.
Dirty Dancing will appear at Birmingham Hippodrome from Wednesday 4 July to Saturday 25 August 2012.
Ticket Prices: £20-£55 (Concessions available)
Book online www.birminghamhippodrome.com or telephone 844 338 5000.
For more information on the show visit www.dirtydancingonstage.com