Dirty Dancing - the stage version of the seminal Eighties chick flick which turned Patrick Swayze into one of the biggest heartthrobs of the decade - will receive its UK premiere at the West End’s Aldwych Theatre, where it will open in October 2006, following previews from 28 September 2006 (See The Goss, 21 Feb 2006). It’s initially booking until 7 April 2007.

Set at an upmarket American holiday camp called Kellerman’s in the 1960s, the 1987 film starred Jennifer Grey as the teenaged Baby Houseman who falls in love with the camp's working class dance instructor Johnny Castle, played by Swayze, whose climactic line, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner”, has since become a classic.

Dirty Dancing has been adapted for the stage by the film’s screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein, who based the story’s setting on her own childhood experiences of family holidays in America’s Catskill Mountains. The musical had its world premiere in Sydney in 2004 and has since proved a hit on tour in Australia, where Kym Valentine and Josef Brown originated the stage roles of Baby and Johnny in a production directed by Englishman Mark Wing-Davey (Bat Boy).

Casting and creative details have not yet been announced for the UK production, which will be officially launched at an event at West End nightclub Café de Paris on Monday night (27 February 2006). Dirty Dancing is presented in London by Jacobsen Entertainment and Karl Sydow in association with Lion Gate Films and Magic Hour Productions.

Dirty Dancing isn’t the only Eighties screen-to-stage dance-inspired musical in town. At the nearby Novello Theatre, Footloose will start performances in April, as reported last week (See News, 16 Feb 2006). And at the Aldwych itself, Dirty Dancing will replace long-runner Fame, which has posted closing notices for 29 April 2006 (See Today’s Other News).

- by Caroline Ansdell & Terri Paddock