'Dirty Dancing' musical to hit Manila in July

By Ivy Lisa F. Mendoza for ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Mar 11 2013 12:39 PM | Updated as of Mar 12 2013 08:38 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- "Dirty Dancing," the re-imagined-for-stage version of the hit movie that starred Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, is all set to enthrall FIlipino theatergoers with its spirited dancing, '60s music, high-tech LED sets, and of course, the famous "lift" when it comes to Manila for a 22-show run starting July 4, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

The story documents a teenage girl's coming of age through a relationship with a dance instructor whom she encounters during the family's summer vacation. The movie also became known for its hit songs ‘’Hungry Eyes,’’ ‘’Hey Baby’’ and "(I've Had) The Time of My Life’,’ which was recently revived by the Black Eyed Peas.

‘’Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage’’ debuted in 2004, breaking records on the West End in the United Kingdom and Germany, and playing to sold-out houses in Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Holland and North America.

Images of Johnny and Baby doing the famous ‘’lift’’ during the show's finale has become the trademark of "Dirty Dancing," both the movie and the theater production, that it has become one of the most awaited parts of the show.

For lead actors Bryony Whitfield and Gareth Bailey, this iconic dance move is all about trust and support.

‘’It is very much about timing and balance, about core strength for her, and strength to lift her for me. But it is more about being connected with each other," Gareth, who also essayed the role in London, told ABS-CBNnews.com.

‘’That lift is the closes thing to flying without cables, I love it! But more than anything, it is the perfect example of a relationship, it is a balance you need, with Johnny lifting and Baby being able to hold it for four counts of eight!’’ added Bryony.

For producer James Cundall, Manila is a must stop for the world-class theater productions he has been bringing on tour to key Asian cities. Cundall’s Lunchbox Theatrical Production successfully staged a string of hits in the country – "Cats," "Mamma Mia," "Stomp" and last year's "Phantom of the Opera," which was seen by an estimated 100,000 during its extended Manila run.

Cundall said he has such high respect for the Filipino talent. In "Cats," for instance, they were able to swing a guest role for Lea Salonga as Grizabella the Glamour cat. In "Phantom of the Opera," Dondi Ong portrayed Ubaldo Piangi, the principal tenor of the opera company.

‘’My dream is to do a show where we can actually bring a combination of the West End and Manila in a show and we think we know when that is going to be,’’ Cundall hinted.

He said high on the priority list of what will be served the Manila audience next is ‘’Wicked’’ and about six other productions in the next couple of years.

Just as he is confident about the warm welcome from the Manila audience, he is also very positive about the local theater industry’s reception.

‘’We are all in this together. We only come once or twice a year, bringing with us a massive tour, with the biggest cast and props and all. Hopefully we raise the bar in production too, and grow the market together with the local art scene. Even in Hong Kong and Singapore, the local scene has grown partly aided by these imported shows, ‘’ Cundall shared.