In a decade packed with movies about Brat Packers cutting class, girls just wanting to have fun, and murderous, shoulder-pad-loving high schoolers hell-bent on mixing orange juice with drain cleaner, 1987’s Dirty Dancing was a welcome enigma. It was set in the 1960s, was about an unfamiliar style of dancing, and harnessed the nostalgia of summer bungalow communities that were prevalent in upstate New York during the mid-20th century. Oh, and it was really, really sexy.
The actress will step into the role of innocent, intelligent high school grad Frances “Baby” Houseman—originally played by Jennifer Grey—who summers with her affluent family in the Catskill Mountains and falls for the resort’s working-class, bad boy dance instructor.
ABC is the third of the Big Four networks to mount a live musical—NBC was first with 2013’s The Sound of Music, 2014’s Peter Pan, and this year’s wildly successful The Wiz, which raked in 11.5 million viewers. It was also recently announced that Fox will be airing a live version of Grease, starring Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens.
It’s been a tough road for revamps of the incredibly authentic Dancing, which was so influential that it sparked a worldwide dance craze during the late ’80s and made the movie’s choreographer, Kenny Ortega, a household name.
In 2004, the story was unsuccessfully reimagined with a Cuban setting in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, and a TV series tried to recapture the magic of the movie in 1988 but failed.
As for the live TV remake, no other casting has been revealed yet, but we’re obviously dying of curiosity to find out who will step into the ridiculously sexy dancing shoes of Johnny Castle, originally played by the late, great Patrick Swayze.
Never seen it? We suggest you watch the original, pronto. To entice you, here’s a clip of good girl Baby witnessing the bungalow staff dancing dirty after hours—and witnessing Johnny for the first time.
Executive producers for the new Dirty Dancing include Allison Shearmur (The Hunger Games) and Eleanor Bergstein, who also wrote the screenplay for the original movie. Jessica Sharzer (The L Word) will write the adaptation, and Wayne Blair (The Sapphires) will direct. The music will be done by Adam Anders and Peer Astrom (Glee) with Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton) as choreographer.