'Dirty Dancing' Stage Show Hits London

LONDON (October 24, 2006) — There’s no Patrick Swayze, but a stage version of “Dirty Dancing” already looks like a hit.

Producers said the show, which opened Tuesday, had $20 million in advance ticket sales, making it one of the fastest-selling shows in West End history.

Producers said they had sold almost 250,000 tickets for the show, which is booking through October 2007.

It’s the latest evidence of the enduring popularity of the 1987 movie about teenage Baby’s romance with dance teacher Johnny at an upstate New York summer resort in the 1960s.

The film’s combination of romance, memorably overblown songs — notably the Academy Award-winning “(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life” — and such kitsch-classic lines as, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner,” have made it a cult favorite.

The stage version, which had its debut in Australia in 2004, stays faithful to the plot of the film, which starred Swayze and Jennifer Grey.

The production at London’s Aldwych Theatre stars Australian actor Josef Brown and British newcomer Georgina Rich in the lead roles.

London’s West End has been particularly receptive to musicals made from successful American films that celebrated pop music.

Stage versions of “Saturday Night Fever” and “Fame” were much bigger hits in the West End than they were when the shows came to the United States.

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