It was announced late last year that a three-hour live musical version of seminal ’80s movie “Dirty Dancing” is headed ABC starring Abigail Breslin, and now we’ve learned newcomer Colt Prattes will step into the role of bad boy dance instructor Johnny Castle, made famous by the late, great Patrick Swayze.
Prattes is a singer, dancer, and actor who starred in P!nk’s “Try” video and starred in the Las Vegas version of Broadway’s Rock of Ages.
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.
Breslin will play 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 dance instructor, and Debra Messing will play her mother Marjorie.
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, followed by FOX who slayed with its live version of Grease, starring Julianne Hough, Aaron Tveit, 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.
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.