Photo credit: Dirty Dancing (Photo courtesy of Dirty Dancing)

Everything you need to know about ‘Dirty Dancing’ in London

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

The 1980s gave us plenty of musical films, like Fame, Flashdance, and Footloose. None feature a lift quite as iconic as the end move in Dirty Dancing. Dirty Dancing has rightfully earned its status as a classic musical film, and audiences have idolised 'Baby' and Johnny's whirlwind romance at summer camp for over 30 years. Now you can get ready to have the time of your life at the theatre, as Dirty Dancing returns to London.

When Dirty Dancing made its West End premiere, millions of theatregoers got to imagine they were visiting Kellerman's. In 2022, Dirty Dancing returned to light up our lives at the Dominion Theatre, and it's so popular that it's returning for a 2023 encore season. Here's our complete guide to the West End production of Dirty Dancing.

What is Dirty Dancing about?

The Dirty Dancing musical follows the same storyline as the Dirty Dancing film. Audiences meet the Houseman family, who are heading to Kellerman's in upstate New York for the summer holidays. Their teenage daughter, 17-year-old Frances 'Baby' Houseman, is unenthused by the activities on offer.

Everything changes when she sees resort dance instructor, Johnny Castle, and she falls head over heels. Baby and Johnny strike up a summer romance, but can they make their relationship work on and off the dancefloor?

When did Dirty Dancing premiere?

The Dirty Dancing film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on 12 May 1987, ahead of an American cinema release on 21 August that same year. Even though the Dirty Dancing film featured original music, audiences had to wait for a Dirty Dancing musical adaptation, as Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage premiered in 2004.

Dirty Dancing in London began performances on 23 Oct. 2006 at the Aldwych Theatre, where it ran for nearly five years, playing a final performance on 9 Jul. 2011. Two years later, Johnny and Baby came back to dance in London, with a limited engagement of Dirty Dancing from 13 Jul. 2013 to 22 Feb. 2014 at the Piccadilly Theatre.

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Who wrote Dirty Dancing?

Eleanor Bergstein wrote the Dirty Dancing musical and Dirty Dancing film. Early in her career, Bergstein wrote It's My Turn, a 1980s rom-com starring Michael Douglas. During It's My Turn's production, an erotic dance scene was cut from the script, which made Bergstein furious. However, this decision sparked an initial idea for a film that would eventually become Dirty Dancing — success can come from rejection!

Who is in the Dirty Dancing London cast?

Michael O’Reilly and Kira Malou play Johnny Castle and Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman. The cast includes Charlotte Gooch as Penny Johnson, Georgina Castle as Lisa Houseman, Lynden Edwards as Jake Houseman, Jackie Morrison as Marjorie Houseman, Colin Charles as Tito Suarez, Michael Remick as Max Kellerman, and Tony Stansfield as Mr Schumacher.

Joel Benjamin, Chrissy Brooke, Shaquille Brush, Inez Budd, Morgan Burgess, Charlotte Coggin, Danny Colligan, Alastair Crosswell, Callum Fitzgerald, Christopher Fry, Lily Laight, Hollie-Ann Lowe, Ben Middleton, Carly Miles, Ayden Morgan, Tom Mussell, Lee Nicholson, Tom Parsons, Miles Russell, Nathan Ryles, and Lydia Sterling complete the Dirty Dancing cast.

What songs are in Dirty Dancing?

If you've seen the Dirty Dancing film, you'll recognise all the hits in Dirty Dancing on stage. Here are some songs in the original Dirty Dancing film to listen out for.

"(I've Had) The Time of My Life"
""Be My Baby"
"She's Like the Wind"
"Hungry Eyes"
"You Don't Own Me"
"Hey! Baby"
"Love Is Strange"
"Where Are You Tonight?"
"In the Still of the Night"

What theatre in London is Dirty Dancing playing at?

Dirty Dancing is at the Dominion Theatre. The Dominion Theatre is one of the West End's largest theatres. Previous shows at the Dominion Theatre include Grease, The Prince of Egypt and White Christmas. Dirty Dancing was at the Dominion Theatre in 2022.

What is the running time of Dirty Dancing?

The Dirty Dancing musical has a running time of 2 hours and 10 minutes, including a 20-minute interval. Find out more about running times of West End musicals.

Is the Dirty Dancing musical the same as the Dirty Dancing film?

The Dirty Dancing film and Dirty Dancing musical both follow the same storyline and feature the same songs. It's a nostalgic musical filled with eighties fun, so, if you're a Dirty Dancing film fan, you'll want to book tickets to see Dirty Dancing on stage. Find out more about Dirty Dancing London productions.

Fun facts about Dirty Dancing

  • Arguably, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" is the stand-out song from Dirty Dancing. Did you know "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" won Dirty Dancing an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Grammy Award?
  • When the Dirty Dancing movie was released, film executives thought the movie would fail to recoup its initial investment. However, Dirty Dancing made $10 million in 10 days, and has sold over 10 million DVDs. Viewers even attended dance classes in the hopes of falling in love too!
  • At the time of its on-sale, the Dirty Dancing London premiere was the fastest-selling West End musical of all time.

Photo credit: Dirty Dancing (Photo courtesy of Dirty Dancing)

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