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THERE isn’t a girl alive who hasn’t seen Dirty Dancing, well except for the lead in the sell-out stage version which opened in Birmingham this week.

Based on the cult 1987 film, 17-year-old Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman discovers a lot more than dance moves when she meets sexy dance instructor Johnny Castle, originally played by Patrick Swayze, at a 1960s summer camp in New York’s Catskill Mountains.

Based on the cult 1987 film, 17-year-old Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman discovers a lot more than dance moves when she meets sexy dance instructor Johnny Castle, originally played by Patrick Swayze, at a 1960s summer camp in New York’s Catskill Mountains.

Jill Winternitz, who plays sweet and innocent Baby, said: “I hadn’t seen the film until I got a call from my agent to audition. I actually got it confused with Fame!

“I’ve subsequently watched it lots of times and I’m a fan now. I’m not necessarily a rom-com person but it completely won me over. I was nearly in tears at the end, as was my boyfriend. I think it actually helped me approach the audition with fresh eyes.”

She said that it was a ‘dream’ and a ‘gift’ to be able to join such a phenomenally popular show.

“I think a lot of people connect with Baby; a normal girl having an extraordinary journey. She discovers a part of herself that she didn’t know existed.”

Paul-Michael, who plays Johnny, began his career as a dancer and said Dirty Dancing had been an inspiration growing up.

“It’s such a great film for a young dancer,” he said. “It gives dance a cool, masculine image.”

He admitted that stepping into Swayze’s iconic role had been a daunting experience.

“To take on that role, knowing everyone loved him as Johnny was kind of scary. They go wild for the character of Johnny. The line ‘nobody puts baby in the corner’ gets everyone going.”

But the actor admitted he liked all the female attention; “I enjoy it, I’d be mad not to. I make the most of it.”

Paul-Michael said one of his favourite moments was Baby’s famous lift. “It’s a wicked moment. I’d love to see what it looks like, the dress drops over my face and I can’t see a thing! I’d like to do a night where I get lifted!”

Featuring the film’s record-breaking soundtrack including ‘Time Of My Life’ and ‘Hungry Eyes’, Dirty Dancing is at the Birmingham Hippodrome from July 4- August 25.

For tickets, visit www.birminghamhippodrome.com.

 

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