Dirty Dancing at Bass Hall Review

Dirty Dancing is at Bass Hall through this weekend!  Click through for my review of the show and a teaser for the upcoming shows at Bass Hall.

Dirty Dancing at Bass Hall

Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage has four more performances at Bass Hall before it continues on it's nation wide tour.  The show utilizes the film's story quite well as it follows basically the same structure we're all used to.  The music is also a pivotal and key element as all the classic songs are in the show and even a famous line or two from the film makes an appearance.  Bass Hall is a perfect venue for a show like this as it's intimate but elegant environment allows for the story to unfold right before your eyes.

Bass Hall Interior

Bass Hall's true brilliance is in it's massive feel but intimate setting.  It's almost impossible to have a bad seat and you'll be mesmerized by the beautiful design.  Even the outside facade is both appealing and captivating with it's famous ladies.

Bass Hall Ladies Playing

You can't really experience a show badly at Bass Hall.  Now the question is whether the show itself is worthy.  Honestly, the subject matter should translate well into an awesome show.  And there are some wonderful moments in the show.  However, minus the great music and the well done set the talent themselves seem hamstrung.  You see, this isn't a musical.  Only two of the ensemble players actually sing their parts during the various numbers.  It's basically just a re-telling of the film.  And honestly how can you replace the magic and heat of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey? 

Now the dancing in the show is done well and hits all the right steps.  But the dull performances, especially of six-packed Adonis Samuel Pergande really take the show a notice down.  It's just hard to envision Johnny Castle as anyone outside of Patrick Swayze even though Pergande certainly is fit for the dancing.  But if you can get past the bad acting there are some real moments of bliss.

Dirty Dancing Jennlee Shallow as Elizabeth and Doug Carpenter as Billy Photo By Matthew Murphy

Jennlee Shallow (Elizabeth) has some amazing solos and her booming voice is easily a highlight for the touring show.  She belts out "This Magic Moment" with a real passion that vibrates the entire Hall.  Another stand out voice is Billy played by Doug Carpenter.  Now sadly the evening I saw him at Bass Hall his voice wasn't as dynamic as when I saw him at Music Hall at Fair Park (my review of that show, here).  But when Doug is on, his rendition of "In The Still of The Night" is utterly captivating.  He literally got a standing applause at Music Hall and a loud ovation at Bass Hall (and like I said that was an understated performance that night).  But since the show lacks a real musical feel the few times where Jennlee and Doug can belt out wonderful songs its a real pleasure and basically can steal the show. 

Dirty Dancing Gillian Abbot as Baby and Samuel Pergande as Johnny Photo by Matthew Murphy

Gillian Abbott plays our beloved Baby, and she looks the part and her dancing is quite amazing.  It seems so much harder to be a talented dancer who has to mess up on purpose that when she does dance for real you're quite amazed.  Overall her scenes with Johnny Castle have great movement but the two still don't have the spark that Swayze and Grey had.  Granted if you remember Dirty Dancing correctly, it's not like those two lovebirds started out liking each other.  It took time and effort to make magic happen. 

In the end, don't miss out on experiencing Bass Hall even in a show that is just slightly good.  Prepare yourselves though for what could be the show of the year when Pippin roles into town July 21-26.  The show utterly blew me away at Music Hall for Dallas Summer Musicals closing show of it's historic 75th season.  Check out my review of that show and an in-depth interview with Adrienne Barbeau who steals the show as Berthe in Pippin.

And get ready for a great Broadway at the Bass 2015-16 season!

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