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and the Tony goes to the watermelon - EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD!

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May 15th, 2008


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09:35 am - and the Tony goes to the watermelon
The Broadway in Boston series has announced its 2008-2009 lineup. The two dramatic offerings are Frost/Nixon, a darn good piece about David Frost's epic interview with post-Watergate Nixon, and A Bronx Tale, Chazz Palminteri's one-man show which looks rather compelling.

There are six musicals this year: A Chorus Line ("The curtain goes up on a bunch of young hopefuls in 1970s leotards..."), Brigadoon, Legally Blonde, Nice Work If You Can Get It (another "New Gershwin" musical starring Harry Connick Jr), Spring Awakening, which I know will make all the theaterkids squee, and... Dirty Dancing.

Oh, yes.

Now I know some of you may have already heard of this, but let's let everybody else in on the joke, okay? Yes, we have another movie adaptation, ladies and gentlemen, and another jukebox musical (the fact that there's only a "Musical Supervisor" listed in the creative credits and no, say, "Composer" leads us to understand that there no original songs have been written for the show.) Eleanor Bergstein, the original creator and author, is behind it, so at least we can say that this is at least a project borne of love for the piece and because some producer thought it'd be cool to string together some Billy Joel songs and name the leads Brenda and Eddie.

But still. Dirty Dancing? Okay, it was a big-ass hit movie, everybody loved it, Jerry Orbach was in it, nobody put Baby in the corner, Patrick Swayze launched his amazing singing career (still selling out arena crowds wherever he goes, eh?) and the pop music of the early 1960s made a brief comeback in the late 80s (ok, I still enjoy Mickey & Sylvia every now and then.)

Lest we think this might be tongue in cheek, let me be the first to reassure you that no, it's really serious. Really. The official title is, and I kid you not, "Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage". The Classic Story.

The Classic Story.

THE CLASSIC STORY.

I cannot write this in any more caps.

By the way, Googling for "classic story" brings up hits for Peter Pan, Rapunzel and The
Gingerbread Man, all of which have enjoyed successful musical adaptations, so maybe the show's in good company here.

This show has been pretty big overseas. It was a West End recordbreaker and the Australians love it. But then again, weren't they also the ones who came up with the idea for Mamma Mia?

Do we want to know what it's all about? Sure we do! Read on, press notes!
Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage is a coming of age love story involving the talented and headstrong dancer Johnny Castle and Frances 'Baby' Houseman. During her family's summer holiday at the popular Kellerman's resort, Baby, a doctor's daughter with dreams of joining the Peace Corps, meets Johnny, the guy from the wrong side of the tracks. Against all odds, they fall in love, learning life-changing lessons along the way. The production features such tunes as "Hungry Eyes," "Do You Love Me?" and the Oscar-winning "(I've Had) The Time of My Life."
(Wait a minute... Against All Odds? That's another movie entirely, kids.)

I know a lot of people love this movie. It's clear that the story resonates on many levels with many different people, and there's dancing and music and catchphrases and some pretty steamy bits. That much is cool. I don't think it needs to be put up on a pedestal, though other folks disagree. Here, presented for your giggles, is someone's cultural addition to history via the Dirty Dancing movie article on Wikipedia. Given that Wikipedia has given me some of the best laughs I've ever had (I'm particularly fond of the scholarly checklist of Recurring Themes in John Irving's Work), you can bet I love this following textbrick. While the points made about the theme is valid, just imagine it being read in a pretentious academic voice with no hint of irony whatsoever.
Dirty Dancing has been described as a coming-of-age tale showing the passage from adolescence to adulthood, in a classic hero's journey format similar to Homer's Odyssey. The hero, Baby, is an innocent who receives a call to adventure from a gatekeeper – one of the camp staff asking her in to the party – who invites her to cross a bridge (symbolically significant as it links different realms) and Baby passes into an unfamiliar world (the resort's staff and their dancing rituals). Baby then proceeds through tests and trials (dancing lessons, Penny's abortion, the performance at the Sheldrake, standing up for Johnny) to achieve personal growth, "knowledge acquired through personal experience". She is rewarded for her achievements, by sexual union with Johnny. At the end of the film she undergoes the supreme ordeal (the climactic lift), which she conquers, and is rewarded by being raised, both literally into the air and figuratively into divinity, demonstrating that the hero has achieved a new higher state of being, and has been permanently changed by the journey.
And lo has Baby achieved enlightenment.

I hope you all took notes because this will be on the exam. Top scorers will be rewarded for their achievements in the form of sexual union with Johnny.

And I don't know about you, but I'm always confusing Dirty Dancing with The Odyssey. I keep going "Wait, which one had the lotus eaters again?"

(24 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:fancycwabs
Date:May 15th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC)
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Somewhere on the numerous back burners is the concept for You're A Good Man, Homestar Runner. The Cheat's number "Mnaaaa waane" BRINGS DOWN THE HOUSE.

Seriously, it has everything: bears, Vienna, wrestling, prostitutes, and deadly accidents!

Edited at 2008-05-15 02:08 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:May 15th, 2008 02:14 pm (UTC)
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I'm always confusing Dirty Dancing with The Odyssey


No, that was some other movie with an Academy Award nomination for "adapted screenplay" from the Odyssey.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 15th, 2008 06:29 pm (UTC)
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Citizen Kane?
[User Picture]
From:fancycwabs
Date:May 15th, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC)
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I am the only daddy you got! I'm the damn paterfamilias!

But you ain't bona fide!
[User Picture]
From:gwynethfar
Date:May 15th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
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I always imagine that when they leave Kellerman's, Johnny doesn't keep in touch with Baby. Eventually, he ends up in prison after helping some other no-account greasers rob a liquor store and is killed in a prison riot, and she marries some nebbishy accountant, pops out a couple of kids and volunteers for all the ladies' committees at her synagogue.
[User Picture]
From:meedja
Date:May 15th, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
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Nah, he goes to Cuba to carry on teaching rich holidaymakers to dance. Or at least that's how the story goes for his cameo in Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights.
[User Picture]
From:gwynethfar
Date:May 15th, 2008 05:13 pm (UTC)
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Okay, so he ends up in a CUBAN prison. Same diff. :D
[User Picture]
From:greenlily
Date:May 15th, 2008 02:48 pm (UTC)
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Their Joseph Campbell is pasted on yey.
[User Picture]
From:reveritas
Date:May 15th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
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you got spammed.

i love this post. i loved "dirty dancing," but i especially love this post. Sexual union with Johnny, all right!
[User Picture]
From:heathbar27
Date:May 16th, 2008 04:27 am (UTC)
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SRSLY. I read this:

> Top scorers will be rewarded for their achievements in the form of sexual union with Johnny.

and I was like, ".... you know, I'm okay with that! Am I on the class list and if not, how do I sign up?!"
[User Picture]
From:amandaruth2001
Date:May 15th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
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Patrick Swayze launched his amazing singing career (still selling out arena crowds wherever he goes, eh?)

He's battling pancreatic cancer right now, actually. I always thought he was a pretty pathetic actor and never understood the appeal, but this still makes me really sad.

[User Picture]
From:campion7
Date:May 15th, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC)
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*reads post and is impressed*

Damn! Can I get you to help me write my Master's thesis? While we're at it, how about my doctoral dissertation?
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 15th, 2008 06:24 pm (UTC)
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Sorry, academia doesn't like it when I holler the loud funny words.
[User Picture]
From:ctate
Date:May 15th, 2008 06:03 pm (UTC)
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THE CLASSIC STORY
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 15th, 2008 06:22 pm (UTC)
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No! I wanna holler the loud funny words!

I LIKE DARREN! HE IS MY FRIEND!
I LIKE YOU AND HIM!
HE LIKES ME AND I LIKE HIM!
HE LIKES YOU, I HOOOOOOOOOOOOPE!!
I LIKE HIS AUTOGRAPH!
IT IS A NICE PICTURE!
HE IS NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE!!!
[User Picture]
From:magickcat
Date:May 15th, 2008 06:44 pm (UTC)
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You guys totally have this in my head now.
Do. Not. Want.
[User Picture]
From:fancycwabs
Date:May 15th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC)
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Flying butt pliers?
[User Picture]
From:jossish
Date:May 15th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC)
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I work just around the corner from the the theatre showing Dirty Dancing and in the evening there are always coachloads of middle aged women being dropped off outside.
[User Picture]
From:dcart
Date:May 15th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC)
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I'm sure Swayze is doing boffo box office at the hospice.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:scholargipsy
Date:May 16th, 2008 09:15 am (UTC)
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Kat actually saw Dirty Dancing onstage in Sydney when she was living there. She said it was surprisingly good, if not exactly monomythic.
[User Picture]
From:skeetlj
Date:May 16th, 2008 12:30 pm (UTC)
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There's a constantly shrinking cycle that renders things classic these days. "Standing the test of time" used to mean something along the lines of "being enjoyed for fifty years by several generations"... now it means, basically, "hey, remember when this happened? That was awesome."

The cycle is now, by my watch, somewhere in the vicinity of "ten years ago, before you were worried about mortgages and cholesterol."
[User Picture]
From:joyeous
Date:May 17th, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC)
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Now we *have* to go. :-)

I'm only online for a second, so call me tonight or tomorrow.
[User Picture]
From:wellstar
Date:July 15th, 2008 02:45 am (UTC)
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I am not at all caught up on Livejournal from my vacation, but I just had to find this post so I could tell you that I saw "Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage" while I was in Toronto! We got cheap rush tickets.

It was adapted by the same person who wrote the screenplay and it was JUST what you would expect. Badly translated for the stage. Gratuitous dancing that neither advanced the plot nor impressed the audience. Blatant imitations of screen performances, but with Canadian accents. Nobody puts Baby in a corner, eh?


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