'Dirty Dancing' is gearing up to be the time of your life

UNIVERSITY PARK — The beloved film Dirty Dancing has been an ultimate classic for people worldwide for the past 30 years, and now the story can be experienced like never before. The live musical production “Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage” comes to Eisenhower Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 21 and Thursday, March 22 — and you can absolutely expect to have the time of your life.

The production, which features “heart-pounding music, passionate romance and sensational dancing,” has been a worldwide phenomenon since 2004, touring nationally in North America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. The classic story follows the unforgettable characters Baby and Johnny in the summer of 1963, as dancing brings them together and changes both of their lives forever.

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t know at least one thing from the movie — a line, a song, a certain (extremely famous) dance move. But the live musical promises to be just as enjoyable whether you’ve seen the movie 20 times or never before. It has been a smash hit with both lifelong fans and newcomers alike, combining all the best parts of what fans know and love from the film with many new, exciting songs and scenes.

“You’ll still see all of the famous characters and classic lines from the movie, but the production includes 20 new scenes, developed in order to deepen character relationships and offer more vivid reminders of the events taking place in 1963,” says Laura Sullivan, Marketing and Communications Director for the Center for the Performing Arts.

The production includes all of the favorite songs from the film, like “Hungry Eyes,” “In the Still of Night,” “Hey Baby,” “Do You Love Me?” and, of course, “I’ve Had the Time of My Life,” along with 25 new songs.

“And yes, the classic lift is there,” Sullivan says, “but it’s much more exciting when you see it live in the theater!”

The same holds true for the rest of the story, as the live show offers the chance to connect with the characters in a totally unique way.

“Even if you know the movie by heart, nothing compares to the experience of seeing the story unfold live on stage,” says Sullivan. “The best part, I think, is the emotional response that seeing a live performance elicits, which you don’t necessarily get from seeing the story on screen.”

With the 1987 film just celebrating its 30th anniversary last year, the story is one that’s adored by people of all ages, making it even more special to experience in person.

“You actually will see three generations of audiences coming to experience this iconic story together,” Sullivan says. “It is really going to be a fun evening!”

For those who don’t want the fun to stop there, why not learn some dirty dancing skills of your own? A free dancing social will be offered at 7 p.m. Friday, March 16, in Room 201 of the State College Municipal Building (243 S. Allen St.) to teach the basics of bachata, a dance style featured prominently in the film and show. The free event is hosted by the Center for the Performing Arts in partnership with the Penn State Ballroom Dance Club and State College Borough — no dancing experience, partner or reservation required!

Tickets for “Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage” can be purchased online at www.cpa.psu.edu; by phone at 800-ARTS-TIX; or in person at Eisenhower Auditorium, the Penn State Downtown Theatre Center or the Bryce Jordan Center. For more information about the production or dance social, visit www.cpa.psu.edu/events/dirtydancing.

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