Screen-to-stage adaptation Dirty Dancing received its UK premiere in front of a star-studded audience last night (24 October 2006, previews from 29 September) at the Aldwych Theatre (See News, 24 Feb 2006), where it’s already broken West End box office records with an advance of nearly £12 million.

At an upmarket American holiday camp called Kellerman’s in the summer of 1963, Baby Houseman falls in love with the camp's working class dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze in the iconic 1987 film), whose climactic line, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner”, has since become a classic. Dirty Dancing stars Josef Brown (from the original stage production in Australia) and Georgina Rich as Johnny and Baby.

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Brown and Rich are joined by David Rintoul as Baby’s father Dr Jake Houseman, Issy van Randwyck as Baby’s mother Marjorie, Isabella Calthorpe as Baby’s sister Lisa and Nadia Coote (from the Australian production) as Penny. The cast also features Rae Baker, Billy Boyle, Richard Dempsey, Shonagh Daly and Nigel Williams.

Dirty Dancing has been adapted for the stage by the film’s screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein. In addition to recordings of period pop songs, the stage show includes hits from the film including “Hungry Eyes”, “She’s Like the Wind” and “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”. The stage production is directed by James Powell and designed by Stephen Brimson-Lewis, with choreography by Kate Champion and music direction by Chris Newton.

For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer was on hand at the theatre for arrivals and the curtain call and at the post-show party at the Banqueting House, Whitehall. First night celebrity guests included: Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Joanna Lumley, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Graham Norton, Maria McErlane, Barbara Windsor, Rolf Harris, Trisha Goddard, Lynda Bellingham, Tamara Beckwith, Kate Lawler, Christopher Biggins, Antony Costa, Paula Wilcox, Abi Titmuss, Michael Winner, Brendon Cole (Strictly Come Dancing), designers Scott Henshall and Hofit Golan, musicians Myleene Klass, Lisa B and Linzi Stoppard, and TV presenters Liz Fuller and Jenni Falconer.

- by Terri Paddock