The full company for the UK premiere of Dirty Dancing has now been announced. The screen-to-stage adaptation opens on 24 October 2006 (previews from 28 September) at the West End’s Aldwych Theatre, where ticket sales now exceed £6 million, the biggest box office advance for any show in West End history.

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

As previously reported (See News, 23 May 2006), the London production stars Josef Brown (who originated the stage role of Johnny in Australia) and Georgina Rich as Johnny and Baby. They’re joined by David Rintoul (Edward III, The Island Princess for the RSC) as Baby’s father Dr Jake Houseman, Issy Van Randwyck (Once in a Lifetime, Song of Singapore) as Baby’s mother Majorie, Isabella Calthorpe (The Voysey Inheritance) as Baby’s sister Lisa and Nadia Coote (from the Australian production) as Penny.

Also in the cast are: Nigel Williams (as Max Kellerman), Rae Baker, Billy Boyle, Richard Dempsey, Jason Griffiths, Richard Lloyd King, Ben Mingay, Richard O’Brien, Brian Saccente and Ursula Smith, as well as, in the ensemble, Lucy Banfield, Ian Banham, Sarah Bowden, Dan Burton, Arielle Campbell, David Erik, Shimi Goodman, Helen Harper, Victoria Hinde, Chris Holland, Melissa Keyes, Paul Kitson, Richard Leeson, Chris Mellon, William Peaco Jnr, Tanya Perera and Emma Woods.

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 and Germany.

The West End production is directed by James Powell and designed by Stephen Brimson-Lewis, with musical supervision by Conrad Helfrich, choreography by Kate Champion, lighting by Tim Mitchell, sound by Bobby Aitken and costumes by Jennifer Irwin.

- by Terri Paddock