"Cast announced for 'Dirty Dancing'"
Broadway World Wednesday, July 25, 2007
by BWW News Desk
Following an extensive search across Canada , and some major cities in the United States , David Mirvish, by arrangement with Jacobsen Entertainment, in association with Lionsgate and Magic Hour Productions, has revealed the cast that will bring Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story On Stage to the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto .
Writer & Creator Eleanor Bergstein says "I am delighted to introduce our brilliant and original cast for Dirty Dancing . It is a difficult show to cast as the roles are quite demanding and challenging. The cast is largely Canadian simply because the depth of talent we found here was so stunning and unmistakably passionate. I feel lucky to work with such wonderful performers."
Torontonian Jake Simons will play Johnny Castle, the headstrong dance instructor who captures Baby's heart at Kellerman's where Dirty Dancing is set. Raised in Kitchener , Ontario , he has extensive experience, with credits including West Side Story (Stratford Festival ), Song and Dance (Theatre Calgary), Grease (Elgin Theatre), Aladdin (Elgin Theatre) and the television show "Queer as Folk."
Emerging actress Monica West has been cast as Frances 'Baby' Houseman. Trained in classical ballet at the Rochester City Ballet, she graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee , Wisconsin . She has starred in productions at the Barrow Street Theater and 59E59 Street Theater in New York City; The Guthrie in Minneapolis; and, New Jersey's George Street Playhouse. West has been seen on "One Life to Live;" in films at Sundance, GenArt and SXSW; and at Performance Space 122 in Manhattan where she performed her live one-woman show, Dear Dad, Confessions of GoGo.
Britta Lazenga, a former dancer with The Joffrey Ballet, is Penny, Johnny's mesmerizing but troubled dance partner. Her work with The Joffrey Ballet includes principal roles in Snow Queen, Untitled and Waltz of the Flowers , and soloist roles in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Light Rain and A Wedding Bouquet.
They are joined by Al Sapienza as Baby's father, Dr. Jake Houseman, Victoria Adilman as her mother Majorie and Natalie Krill as her sister Lisa. Victor A. Young plays Max Kellerman, namesake of the resort at which the iconic story is set, with Adel Gigantes as Vivian, Eric Fink as Mr. Schumacher, Dylan Trowbridge as Neil Kellerman, Kent Sheridan as Moe Pressman, Rudy Webb as Tito Suarez, Ben Mingay as Billy, Jeffrey Wetsch as Robbie, Tyler Murree as Stan and Joyce Krenz as Mrs. Schumacher. The ensemble includes Michelle Black, Lydia Bouchard, Karen Burthwright, Peter Buzny, Christopher Compton, Diana Diaz, Milda Gecaite, Ryan Gifford, Elizabeth Gordon, Bryan Hindle, Jodi McFadden, Sarah Murphy-Dyson, Tammy Nera, Jesse Robb, Jaz Sealey, Jason Sermonia, Jivaro Smith, Christopher Tierney, Michael Torontow, Jonathan Whittaker, Johnny Wright and 2005 Canadian Idol winner, Melissa O'Neil.
The Toronto production will be staged by the same acclaimed creative team as the London production, including Writer & Creator Eleanor Bergstein, Director James Powell, Choreographer Kate Champion, Musical Supervisor Conrad Helfrich, Set Design Stephen Brimson Lewis, Lighting Design Tim Mitchell, Sound Design Bobby Aitken, Video and Projection Design Jon Driscoll, Costume Design Jennifer Irwin and Latin and Ballroom Choreographer Craig Wilson.
Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story On Stage will receive its North American premiere on October 31, 2007 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre and is the anchor show of the 2007-2008 Mirvish Subscription Season. Reconceived for the stage by Eleanor Bergstein, who also wrote and co-produced the phenomenally successful film.