With the stage production of Dirty Dancing set to hit the Aylesbury Waterside in late March, I caught up with new kid on the block Michael O’Reilly to talk touring, audiences and filling Patrick Swayze’s iconic dancing shoes
Dirty Dancing is the film of a generation. There must be millions of people worldwide who shared Baby’s personal pain and stared in awe at Patrick Swayze’s incredible, natural rhythm. But, according to star of the new theatre show, Michael O’Reilly, the stage production of the classic film is more than just a happy-clappy show about a pair of young dancers.
“Dirty Dancing is massively about bravery,” he tells me on the phone as he takes a few minutes out of the wall-to-wall tour schedule to talk to me, “it’s a story of coming of age.” For someone who only graduated from theatre school last summer, Michael speaks incredibly maturely about his role as Johnny in this classic film-turned-theatre show. I ask him about the pressures of recreating a role everyone knows so well.
“Patrick Swayze is an absolute icon…to fill his boots is very scary but also a very rewarding challenge,” he muses, “I’m really embracing my version of the character. You’re entitled to make your own choices…it was about finding the balance.” However, other than Michael and his colleagues making sure the roles are really their own, he assures me the rest of the show will be as faithful to the film as it possibly could be.
“We work with exactly the same script as the film,” Michael explains, “We totally replicate, we’ve got all the songs in there, all the classic lines.” But don’t be fooled; there’s still plenty of surprises for an audience to enjoy. “Every night is so different… we have a live band on stage, and [by the end] everyone in the stalls and circle are standing and clapping and dancing and singing along… we’re so lucky to be able to do this show, it gets such a great response from the audience.”
If Dirty Dancing is one of your all-time, life-defining films then this show is absolutely unmissable. And, if you won’t take it from me, take it from Michael: “If you do love the film and you like the story, treat yourself and get a ticket…you’ll have the time of your life!”
Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage is at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from March 25th to March 30th.
You can get tickets here: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/dirty-dancing-the-classic-story-on-stage/aylesbury-waterside-theatre/