Cadillac Palace Theater
This “indescribably gaudy stage-Xerox” of the 1987 movie could make it to Broadway, said Christopher Piatt in Time Out Chicago. But first Dirty Dancing needs to fix a few kinks. For a musical, this show doesn’t have much singing. For the most part, “an iPod of oldies” does the work, as the cast members dance along. Ballerina Britta Lazenga can be mind-blowing as bad-girl Penny. And Amanda Leigh Cobb, as the main character, Baby, is a dead ringer for the movie’s Jennifer Grey. But neither she nor Josef Brown as Johnny have pipes to match their steps. Mainly, they deliver dialogue verbatim from the movie.
Let’s face it, said Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune, Dirty Dancing
fans would be up in arms if producers fiddled with the original. Indeed, all the movie’s most beloved episodes have been restaged here: the hula dance by Baby’s sister, the watermelon scene, and the log-balancing sequence (which garnered huge applause). These re-creations are “done well.” But if you’re just going to stage the movie script, why bother hiring talented performers like Lazenga and Cobb? Better to be truly daring and leave out dialogue altogether. “You know these kids would kill, if their producers would just let music and dance tell the story.”