Big news on two new productions targeting Broadway from the American Midwest. First, out of Chicago comes news that the casting is set for the Chicago run of “Dirty Dancing”. The production carries the full title “Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage” and has been buzzing up buzz following productions in London and Toronto. The Chicago production retains the London productions Josef Brown as Johnny Castle (the Patrick Swayze part) and Broadway up-and-comer Amanda Leigh Cobb will not be put in a corner as Baby.
Based on the 1987 hit film, “Dirty Dancing” has a plot that lends itself to a musical production, and a story that wins hearts. Variety reports that the run is considered pre-Broadway, though no dates have been set. While critical response has been mixed to earlier productions, the audience response has been quite warm. The Chicago show opens September 28.
Not far to the North, the venerable Guthrie Theatre continues its ongoing quest to coin a Broadway hit. Past efforts to produce a Broadway hit in Minneapolis include the musical “Martin Guerre” and the recent production of “The Great Gatsby,” though neither production caught the momentum to bring it to Broadway. Well, the third time may be the charm with the new Guthrie musical “The Little House On The Prairie”. Variety again reports that this production has already set box-office records for the Guthrie. The musical has an A-list production team (like all Guthrie productions) and boasts no less a bona fide “Little House” icon than Melissa Gilbert herself playing the role of Mrs. Ingalls. The Minneapolis production begins August 15. With a family friendly theme, beloved material, winning star, and solid production team, this “Little House” could soon move from the prairie to Broadway. What might Laura Ingalls Wilder think of that?