Dirty Dancing at the Pantages

Gordon and I headed over to Hollywood last night to go to the theater. We had to leave early because one of the main parking lots has been closed off; I think they’re building a high-rise. The parking that’s left is crowded so we thought we’d stop for a glass of wine before the show. Unfortunately, our usual lot is now stack parking. I hate stack parking. We finally talked the attendant into letting us park in a spot where we could get out easily. We had to promise we wouldn’t party too late in Hollywood. I had to laugh laugh at that. “We’re old,” I told him. “We’ll be heading home right after the show.” Then we looked for some place to have a drink. The Frolic Room was crowded so we looked in at a sports bar two doors down. It was crowded but they told us we could sit at the bar. So we sat at a table in the bar section. The little maitre d’ fluttered over and told us we couldn’t sit there; that was only for people ordering dinner. He waved us to a place we could sit and we moved and sat. Then he flittered over again and told us we couldn’t sit there. I just looked at Gordon and said, “Let’s leave.” The flitterer followed us out, flittering and protesting, but I wasn’t interested in being told I could sit some place and then being told I couldn’t. We finally found a bar across the street and had wine and roasted mushrooms. The food was good but there was no TV. We couldn’t play Jeopardy, we had to talk to each other–which was fine with me but I think Gordon was little bored. We drank up and walked across the street to the Pantages.

Dirty Dancing has been making the rounds for years but this is the first time I managed to see it. It was a pleasant little confection that followed the movie closely. There were no original tunes; they sang songs from the sixties. The dancers were great. I don’t think I ever bent like that. But I got a little tired of the dry humping going on–but for a while it was sexy. I thought it was curious that neither lead, Baby or Johnny, ever sang but they danced beautifully together. The staging was clever. A scrim with either a meadow or a lake superimposed was dropped and Johnny and Baby were behind it ‘falling’ into the water and ‘running’ through the meadow. The girls in the audience screamed when Johnny did anything–especially when he took off his shirt–but they went nuts when he said, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” You could almost smell the teenage estrogen. The writers tried to make the show socially relevant by lecturing about racism and adding a chorus of “We Shall Overcome”. It was kind of clunky, but then again, all the dialogue was. That didn’t change from the movie. But the final dance scene where Johnny lifts Baby was effective–the teenyboppers went nuts again.

It’s not a great show but if you’re a fan of the movie, you’ll like this, clunky dialogue and all. Oh, we were out of the parking lot by 10:30. Told the kid I was old.


About Barbara Schnell

I've dedicated my life to full-time employment avoidance. I've been an actress, renovated a 1921 California Bungalow, set a cash-winning record on $25,000 Pyramid, and came in last on Jeopardy. I live in Los Angeles with my patient husband and two cats.
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