span.fullpost {display:none;}

Thursday, July 20, 2017

After Johnny was fired, he drove to the Sheldrake

Although Johnny Castle was exonerated from the accusation of stealing money, he still was fired for engaging in a sexual relationship with Baby Houseman, a young guest at the Kellerman resort hotel. By agreeing to "leave quietly", he still would receive his summer bonus.

Before Johnny departed, he informed Baby that he was leaving, and then he went to tell something to her father Jake Houseman.
Johnny Castle
Dr. Houseman, can I, uh-- Look, I'm going anyway, and I know what you must be thinking.

Jake Houseman
You don't know anything at all about me.

Johnny Castle
I know you want Baby to be like you -- the kind of person people look up to. Baby is like that. If you could just see --

Jake Houseman
[interrupting] Don't you tell me what to see. I see someone in front of me who got his partner in trouble and sent her off to some butcher while he moved on to an innocent, young girl like my daughter.

Johnny Castle
Yeah, I guess that's what you would see.
Because Johnny was interrupted, he never did finish telling Jake what Jake might see that would make people look up to Baby.

======

Then Johnny put his stuff into his car, said goodbye with Baby and drove away from the Kellerman resort.


Then Baby went to her room and sadly began to dress for the talent show that would take place that night. The Kellerman family's plan was to attend the talent show and then depart on the next morning.

The family went to the talent show. Lisa performed in the show, but Baby only sat and watched sadly with her parents.

As the show was ending, Johnny returned to the Kellerman resort hotel and took Baby onto the stage to perform the final dance with her.

=====

After Johnny left the Kellerman resort, where did he go and what did he do until he returned?

Baby did not expect him to return. She must have thought he was going home, far away.

If he had traveled far away, however, he would not have returned, because now he was unemployed and could not waste gas money on unnecessary driving. Therefore, he must have driven to some location that was relatively close.

His likely destination was the Sheldrake Hotel, where he already had worked occasionally as a visiting dancer. Apparently, the Sheldrake suffered a shortage of professional dancers. Now Johnny could apply for a regular job there. If he was hired immediately, then he could settle there and not have to drive home.

Johnny was interviewed and hired, and he completed the paperwork and procedures for new employees. He was assigned to an employee bedroom, into which he moved his stuff.

When all that was done, he was able to drive back to the Kellerman hotel, which was not far away.

He drove back, because he decided to show Jake Kellerman that Baby indeed could be the kind of person that people would look up to. Johnny and Baby would perform the dance that they had prepared for the talent show.

======

If Johnny had not been hired immediately at the Sheldrake hotel, then he might have driven home, far away, and not returned to the Kellerman hotel. That's why he didn't tell Baby he might return to the talent show. He already had decided that if he were not hired at the Sheldrake, then he would drive away home.

Because Johnny did get hired immediately, now he could afford to risk the summer bonus that Kellerman promised to pay him for agreeing to "leave quietly". The expression "leave quietly" meant that Johnny would not insist on performing the planned dance with Baby at the talent show.

======

The plan had been that Baby would be sawed in half with the same magic trick that had been performed during the Houseman family's first night at the hotel.

Moe Pressman saws Baby Houseman in half
during her first night at Kellerman's resort hotel.
During the last night's talent show, Baby again would be sawed in half, but then would emerge whole from the box and perform her dance with Johnny. Because Johnny was fired, however, the dance was not preceded by the magic trick.

This explains a remark that Johnny made when he was saying goodbye to Baby. He remarked that now she would sawed into seven pieces.
Baby Houseman
I can't imagine being here without you even one day.

Johnny Castle
Just think, you have more time for horseshoes and croquet.

Maybe they'll saw you in seven pieces now.
Because Baby and Johnny would not perform their dance, the magician now would have to use the extra time sawing Baby into more pieces.

======

The fact that Moe Pressman was the magician's assistant who cut Baby in half indicates that he too was a magician -- and did card tricks and so was a card shark.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My Praise for ABC's "Dirty Dancing" -- Part 2

This is the second article in a series. The first article is here.

In my first article, I urged my readers to welcome new versions of the "Dirty Dancing" story. Appreciate the originality. Don't dismiss them reflexively. Exercise your sense of humor and laugh.

Now I will begin pointing out elements in the ABC original movie that I liked.

=========

The ABC original movie greatly enlarges the roles of two older female characters -- Marjorie Houseman and Vivian Pressman. The reason is that ABC's audience for this movie was populated disproportionately by middle-age and older women. ABC foresaw that its audience in 2017 would differ from the audience that watched the Gottlieb original movie in 1987.

Both ABC characters -- although no longer young -- still feel sexual.

* Marjorie Houseman is trying to become sexually active again in her marriage, which has been sexless for a long time.

http://www.justjared.com/photo-gallery/3883096/dirty-dancing-2017-remake-movie-stills-146/
Sex-starved old Marjorie Houseman in the
ABC original movie "Dirty Dancing"
* Vivian Pressman has been enjoying a sexual affair with Johnny Castle and also has been performing sexy songs with him in the hotel's ballroom.

http://www.justjared.com/photo-gallery/3883039/dirty-dancing-2017-remake-movie-stills-04/
Sex-busy old Vivian Pressman in the
ABC original movie "Dirty Dancing"
Marjorie and Vivian become acquainted with each other and discuss sex.

For much of ABC's audience, those two situations are interesting. Those two situations are introduced early in the story and continue to develop through most of the story. In each case, there is considerable suspense.

* How will Marjorie's situation affect Baby?

* How will Vivian's situation affect Johnny?

* Will Vivian's affair with Johnny interfere with Baby's affair with him?

* Will Majorie and Vivian affect each other's situations?

* How will the story end for Marjorie and Vivian themselves?

Such questions captivated me and held my interest through the entire ABC original movie.

As it turns out, Vivian causes Johnny to be arrested. Vivian's fateful action is foreshadowed early in the story when she tries to give Johnny an expensive watch. Vivian's motivation for her misdeed develops understandably during the story.

In contrast, Johnny is arrested in the Gottlieb original movie because of the Schumachers, who are marginal, barely noticed characters and whose motivation is unrelated to the main story of Baby and Johnny. The Schumachers are deux ex machina characters who exist only to suddenly cause Johnny to be arrested.

The subplot leading to the arrest of Johnny is much better in the ABC original movie.

======

The actress who plays Penny Johnson in the ABC original movie is Nicole Scherzinger, who was 38 years old when the movie was released in 2017. The actress in the Gottlieb original move was Cynthia Rhodes, who was 30 years old when that movie was released in 1987.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/3665208/nicole-scherzinger-crush-dirty-dancing-patrick-swayze/
On the left, Penny Johnson played by Cynthia Rhodes in 1987.
On the right, Penny Johnson played by Nicole Scherzinger in 2017.
Scherzinger is a gorgeous actress, but she plays a Penny Johnson who is and looks relatively old. Below are the ages of the actresses and actors when their Dirty Dancing movies were released:

Penny Johnson
Cynthia Rhodes = 30
Nicole Scherzinger = 38

Johnny Castle
Patrick Swayze = 35
Colt Prattes = 31

Gottlieb Original Movie
Penny Johnson = 30
Johnny Castle = 35

ABC Original Movie
Penny Johnson = 38
Johnny Castle = 31

http://www.eonline.com/photos/20591/see-how-the-dirty-dancing-remake-stars-compare-to-original-movie-s-cast/753951
On the left, Johnny Castle played by Colt Prattes in 2017.
On the right, Johnny Castle played by Patrick Swayze in 1987.
With regard to their ages, Rhodes and Swayze looked like a plausible romantic couple, whereas Scherzinger and Prattes looked like an unlikely romantic couple. In both movies, however, the relationship between Johnny Castle and Penny Johnson was platonic, as far as the movie audience knew.

In both movies, Johnny Castle was sexually involved with Vivian Pressman. The age comparisons are as follows:

Vivian Pressman
Miranda Garrison = 37
Katay Sagal = 63

Johnny Castle
Patrick Swayze = 35
Colt Prattes = 31

Gottlieb Original Movie
Vivian Pressman = 37
Johnny Castle = 35

ABC Original Movie
Vivian Pressman = 63
Johnny Castle = 31

These age relationships show that the ABC original movie purposefully portrayed its older female characters -- Marjorie Houseman, Vivian Pressman and Penny Johnson -- as sexual. ABC foresaw that its movie audience would be populated disproportionately by middle-aged and older women who would be interested in watching older female characters being sexual -- and being sexually attractive.

Thus ABC has adapted its cast and story to its audience. That is a reasonable artistic decision, and I appreciate it positively.

======

Penny Johnson has a relationship not only with Johnny Castle, but also with Baby Houseman, who is supposed to be about 18 years old. Here are the actresses' age differences:

Penny Johnson
Cynthia Rhodes = 30
Nicole Scherzinger = 38

Baby Houseman
Jennifer Grey = 26
Abigail Breslin = 21

Gottlieb Original Movie
Penny Johnson = 30
Baby Houseman = 26

ABC Original Movie
Penny Johnson = 38
Baby Houseman = 21

Penny Johnson helping Baby Houseman
in the 1987 "Dirty Dancing"

https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/3665208/nicole-scherzinger-crush-dirty-dancing-patrick-swayze/
Penny Johnson helping Baby Houseman
in the 2017 "Dirty Dancing"
In the ABC original movie, Penny is almost twice as old as Baby (who is supposed to be 18). The relationship between Penny and Baby seems at moments to be similar to an unmarried aunt and an admiring niece. ABC's Penny is quite affectionate, even loving, toward Baby. I enjoyed watching the ABC Penny interact with Baby, and I imagine that the audience's older women did so likewise.


Also, ABC's 38-year-old Penny finding herself pregnant is a somewhat different problem than the other, 30-year-old Penny finding herself pregnant. The older Penny is nearing the end of her fertility. That difference was not mentioned in either movie, but many of the women in the audience might appreciate that difference.

Nobody reading this should think that I am critical of Nicole Scherzinger's playing Penny in this movie. I love Scherzinger as a singer and actress, and I loved her performance in this movie. I have loved Scherzinger ever since I watched this music video -- many times.


======

The ABC original movie provides an epilogue that reveals what happens to Baby and Johnny between 1963 and 1975. A huge portion of the fans of the Gottlieb original movie have desired and begged for such an epilogue.


The epilogue affects the main story. In the ABC epilogue, Johnny becomes a Broadway choreographer. During the ABC story, therefore, Baby encourages Johnny to become a Broadway dancer.

In contrast, in the Gottlieb original movie, Baby encourages Johnny merely to keep arguing that the hotel's talent show should feature a Cuban-soul dance instead of a pachanga dance.

In the ABC original movie, Baby's suggestion and encouragement affects Johnny's life profoundly and lastingly.

=======

The ABC original movie introduces an African-American young man, named Marco (played by J. Quinton Johnson), who is about Lisa Houseman's age and who becomes involved platonically and musically with her. He teaches her to play a ukulele and sings a duet with her at the talent show.

The new character Marco, a Negro musician,
teaching Lisa to play the ukulele in the 2017 movie "Dirty Dancing"
Marco is a thought-provoking character. He as a Negro (the word used in 1963) feels uncomfortable in socializing with Lisa, because she is Caucasian (the word used in 1963). Furthermore, the Negro band-leader Tito Suarez warns and scowls at Marco not to socialize with Lisa. Marco's modesty, politeness and deference portrays a behavior that was quite common in Negro young men in 1963.

Tito Suarez (in background) scowling at Marco
for socializing with Lisa Houseman in the 2017 "Dirty Dancing"
Lisa's interaction with Marco made her a more interesting character. Marco distracts Lisa from her anguish about her breakup with the sexually aggressive Robbie Gould. Lisa flirts subtly and safely with Marco. Their racial difference makes any romantic relationship impossible.

Now free of romantic entanglements, Lisa learns to play a musical instrument and reads the feminist book The Feminine Mystique, which Baby had been reading (not The Plight of the Peasant) on the drive to the resort hotel.

Lisa is affected by Marco's distracting her from her preoccupation with romantic desires. She is affected further by Marco's teaching her to play the ukulele and to sing a duet with him for the talent show.

Marco also provides much of the music for the ABC original movie. In various scenes, he plays the piano and sings. His musical talent is only moderate and therefore is realistic. He is a rather ordinary young man who works at the hotel and who plays the piano and sings amateurishly at parties.

Because Marco is in the movie, he and other characters sing instead of just playing music on record players. For example, in the bunkhouse scene, when Baby sees the hotel employees "dirty dancing", Marco is playing a piano and singing the songs "Do You Love Me" and "Love Man".

Marco singing at the "dirty dancing" party
in the employees' bunkhouse.
=======

The character change that I myself liked the most was Neil Kellerman. In the 1987 movie, Neil is a rather villainous character and is disliked by Baby. In the 2017 movie, though, Neil is entirely positive and is liked by Baby.

On the left, Neil Kellerman in the 2017 movie.
On the right, Neil Kellerman in the 1987 movie.
I am not criticizing the actor, Lonnie Price, who played the character well and memorably in the 1987 movie. Rather, I am criticizing the character, who is villainous and disliked.

The audience for the 1987 movie includes nice young men (I myself am one instance) who do not like seeing a nice young male character like Neil being disdained by Baby while he is trying politely to express some romantic interest in her. When I watched the movie in 1987, I felt sorry for Neil through most of the movie (until Neil became bossy toward Johnny about the dance to be performed at the talent show).

In the 2017 movie, Baby does not reciprocate Neil's romantic interest, but she does like, appreciate and respect him throughout. Neil is so nice that Baby's parents and sister think Baby is having a summer-vacation romance with him.

Neil Kellerman and the Housemans
watching Johnny and Penny dancing in the ballroom.
The 2017 movie demonstrated that the story did not need for Neil to be a villain. If Baby and Neil are a plausible romantic couple, then there is more emotional conflict in Baby's selection of Johnny over Neil.

I strongly prefer a likable Neil Kellerman character in the  "Dirty Dancing" story.

=======

This series of articles praising the ABC original movie will continue.

My Praise for ABC's "Dirty Dancing" -- Part 1

On May 24, 2017, ABC broadcast the ABC original movie event (notice that expression on the poster) titled Dirty Dancing.


ABC does not call the movie a remake, which is the word used by most people who discuss the movie. Here in this blog article, I will use the expression ABC original movie (not remake).

If you have not seen the ABC original movie, then watching this video, made by Clevver News, summarizes it well.


Having watched the ABC original movie three times, I like it. I encourage people to watch the ABC original movie with an open mind. I encourage people who already have watched it -- even if they hated it -- to watch it again.

-----

The ABC original movie has received little praise. The website Rotten Tomatoes reports favorable reviews from only 20% of the professional reviewers and from 12% of ordinary reviewers. I will provide excerpts from four negative reviews.

Then I will provide my own, positive review.

-----

 Here are excerpts from a negative review, written by television critic Neil Genzlinger for The New York Times:
The Dirty Dancing phenomenon was never really about the story — or the music — or even the dancing. It was about the way those things came together at a particular moment in time for a particular audience in a gritty movie featuring two engaging stars.

That kind of lightning in a bottle can’t be recreated, a point ABC takes a wearying three hours to make on Wednesday night with its new, chemistry-free version of that beloved film. Most of the signature scenes are reproduced — watermelons are carried, a dance lift in a lake is attempted — but the emotional investment that made the 1987 movie an unexpected worldwide phenomenon is nowhere to be felt. ...

The music is also handled differently. Rather than having a soundtrack, the remake often has actors singing the numbers as they would on Broadway. But the device generally feels forced and isn’t used often enough to give this treatment the feel of a full-fledged musical. It’s more like “a movie in which actors occasionally burst into song for no reason.” A real musical deploys its songs organically; here they tend to interrupt rather than enhance.

The hope for this “Dirty Dancing” is presumably that it will both charm the original fans and appeal to viewers who today are the age that those fans were in 1987. But no young person in 2017 wants to hear another word about the 1960s. And the moviegoers who loved Dirty Dancing in the Reagan administration will recognize this new version for the sterile imitation that it is. ...
-----

Here are excepts from a second negative review, written by movie critic Mae Abdulbaki for The Young Folks:
Remaking one of the most popular and beloved movies in the history of cinema feels almost disrespectful on many levels. Going into the TV movie remake of Dirty Dancing with a clear and open mind, I figured that if at least the dancing was good, then there was something to enjoy. However, the updated version doesn’t even meet the lowest of expectations and blows past mediocre to land at downright terrible. The film is slow and dull, the lead actors have absolutely no chemistry, and the musical aspect doesn’t add anything to the film beyond being time-consuming.

The Dirty Dancing remake follows the same general storyline of the original film. It’s still set in the 1960s, Baby Houseman (Abigail Breslin) still ends up falling for Johnny Castle (Colt Prattes), and she still fights the expectations set by her father (Bruce Greenwood). However, it modifies some of the narrative and, to put it simply, makes it much more palatable and suitable for a younger audience. This Disney-washing, if you will, takes away some of the more serious and important aspects of the original film and makes it feel like more of a saccharine version of it. The remake also expands on several characters’ backstory, like that of Baby’s mother (Debra Messing) and father. This version of the film gives them marital problems and allows Baby’s sister, Lisa (Sarah Hyland), to develop outside of the story of simply falling for a jerk.

It’s important for any remake to set itself apart from the original film it’s based on, but Dirty Dancing only allows for so many changes and mostly follows the original narrative verbatim. The additional aspects–the singing, the expansion of some character dynamics, its attempts at being really cute – don’t add anything to the film at all. The TV movie is long, clocking in at two hours and ten minutes, and there are several instances where it becomes boring to watch. ....
-----

Here are excerpts from a third negative review, written by television critic Sonia Saraiya for Variety:
Dirty Dancing on ABC is a sappy, passionless, schlocky remake of the original, without even the iota of imagination necessary to expand upon the 1987 film. Nearly every element of the film that caught worldwide audiences’ imaginations has been sanded down into an advertisement-ready imagining of the swinging ‘60s.

What stands out most, surprisingly, is the smallest of details — the cast doesn’t sweat, even while they are dancing in the hot summer, or while they are making love in the middle of the humid night. There’s nothing dirty about this. And there’s barely even dancing: The production attached “Hamilton” choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, but it’s unclear what they did with his talents, because dance sequences do not take up much of the film’s run-time, and what is seen is sadly below par. The average ABC viewer can see better on an off-week of Dancing With the Stars.

This is not to specifically ding lead Abigail Breslin, who is quite winning during the scenes where Baby is called upon to express emotions. But Dirty Dancing is a dance movie, and Breslin, while competent, is not a dazzling performer. Opposite her, Colt Prattes, who plays Johnny, is a better dancer but a far worse actor.

The two have all the chemistry of mannequins, which makes their already improbable love story completely incomprehensible. And then to make matters worse, they start singing — a bizarre departure from the mise-en-scene in a story that puts realism at the forefront. In the original film, when Swayze and Grey lipsync to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” or “Love Is Strange,” there’s an impromptu enthusiasm to the scenes — just two kids singing along to their favorite songs. In the remake, those rareified moments of intimacy become another opportunity to showboat for the camera. ...
----------

Here are excerpts from a fourth negative review, written by film-maker Scout Tafoya for Roger Ebert.
.... Every room is a little too big and every actor is a little too far away from the camera, as in a multi-camera sitcom. [Director Wayne] Blair has no eye for the dancing, which is his most lethal failing. He has no sense of how to film bodies, the space needed to ensure we see the impressive physicality of each performer, no sense of how to communicate the sensual thrill of two people touching. Blair may well be trying to shoot around the lackluster choreography, which also fails the performers at every turn. The dancers may as well be rogue parade floats accidentally smacking into each other. The music direction is similarly ghastly. Slick, soulless covers of 60s and 80s pop and ballads stumble around like reanimated corpses on the soundtrack.

That's all bad enough, but the final 15 minutes detonate a nuclear bomb of misbegotten ambition in the viewer's brain. It dares you to reconsider your opinion of every poorly staged number and overacted monologue. Prattes' constipated Johnny Castle storms the dance hall for his closing performance, walks over to the table where Baby and her family sit, and delivers the now iconic line that lodged "Dirty Dancing" into popular cinematic imagination. His somnambulant read of "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" spurts from his lips like a mouthful of water he'd forgotten to swallow. A film which had been held together with hope and a prayer until this point, finally falls apart. ....
=========

Now I will provide my own, positive opinion of the ABC original movie. My basic arguments:

* Some stories become so implanted in our culture that they flourish with a multitude of variations and embellishments. Our culture is full of people who love the story and want to retell it. Younger generations of producers, directors, actors, musicians and designers will want to apply their own artistic talents to present the story to younger generations of audiences. We should welcome, appreciate and celebrate these creative efforts -- not denounce, mock and stifle them.

* You can enjoy a lot of fun, surprises and laughs by watching new presentations. For example, in the ABC original movie, the the actor who plays Johnny is much smaller than Patrick Swayze and the actress who plays Baby is much heavier than Jennifer Grey, and so the audience feels amused in anticipating and watching the lift movement in the final dance. It's funny!

* New presentations will fill in gaps in the original story, clarify fuzzy elements, add new characters and subplots, enlarge minor characters, challenge established assumptions and interpretations -- and thus enrich the original story.

* New presentations might attract other social groups to become fans of the story. For example, the ABC original movie adds an African-American character and enlarges the roles of the older characters.

* Some elements of new presentations might be improvements. For example, ABC's Neil Kellerman is a different, more realistic and thought-provoking character.

=========

In order to open your mind about the ABC movie, I suggest that you replace the  expression remake in your thinking with the word original movie. To help you do so, I will use the following expressions in this article:

* The ABC original movie.

* The Gottlieb original movie. (This is the 1987 movie that was produced by Linda Gottlieb and that starred Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze.)

* The San Pietro original movie. (This is a 2014 movie made by an Italian amateur theater club at the Communale San Pietro.)


* The Uskup original movie. (This is a 2012 movie made by a Umskup drama club in the Czech Republic.)


These four movies differ so much that each deserves to be called "original". Each can be enjoyed in its own circumstances and on its level.

If you were a tourist who happened to come across those live performances in Italy or the Czech Republic, you would have enjoyed watching them. You would have smiled and laughed the entire time. You would not have judged them harshly. They were just young foreigners having fun and putting their own spin on the story -- changing it into an Italian story or a Czech story, with their own cultural references and jokes.

Likewise, the new generations of Americans who made the ABC original movie have adapted the story to their own attitudes and sensibilities. By casting a grungy actor and a chubby actress into the lead roles, they have provocatively outraged the older generations that devoutly venerate the now ancient movie, which has become a sacred cow.

A grungy Johnny and a chubby Baby
in a "Dirty Dancing" for new generations. 
Many girls and young women now identify primarily with the Baby Houseman played by Abigail Breslin, an actress they have watched for many years.

======

The website IMDb lists 48 Tarzan movies, from 1918 through 2005. Each one can be appreciated on its own merits, as an original movie. We don't consider the last 47 of these Tarzan movies to be "remakes" of the first Tarzan movie that was made in 1918.


The Tarzan movies continue to be made for various reasons. They are exotic, exciting and funny. They feature an extraordinarily handsome male character. They can raise various cultural, political and environmental issues. The basic story is so well known that the audience keeps it in mind while watching new, alternate, spun-off stories.

======

In an earlier article in my blog, I wrote about the two Footloose movies -- released in 1984 and 2011. Each is a good movie, and each can be appreciated independently.

Of course, the Tarzan movies and the Footloose movies are based on written works that existed before the movies, whereas the Dirty Dancing movies are not based no a prior written work. However, very few people have read the Tarzan novel or the Footloose article. In the mind of the public that has not read the Tarzan novel, all the Tarzan movies are based on abstract story that has become a part of our culture.

Likewise, the Dirty Dancing story is so well known that the story -- as an abstraction -- has become a part of our culture.

======

Consider the story of The Wizard of Oz. Because of the 1939 movie, the story has become so well known that other works can be based quite loosely on the abstract story -- for example, Broadway musical The Wiz and the television series The Tin Man.

======

The Dirty Dancing story has been made into a stage musical (which I have not studied or seen). Somehow, moving the story from a movie onto a theater stage is "really fun". As an example of that open-minded attitude, here is an excerpt from a theater review written by Jane Horwitz for the Washington Post.
.... So, is this highly commercial, “live” re-creation of a beloved film an example of great and artful theatrical innovation? Nope, it is not. But is it really fun? Yup. ....

The characters talk a bit more about civil rights, Vietnam, and class conflict onstage. Musically, choruses of “We Shall Overcome” and “This Land Is Your Land” emphasize, somewhat awkwardly, growing political and social unrest. ....

You know the story: The Houseman family arrives for three weeks of fun in the Catskills at Kellerman’s resort. .... Baby jumps at the chance to learn Penny’s part for a steamy number with Johnny.

All these crises whiz by amid the strains of, among others, “The Time of My Life,” “Do You Love Me?,” “Cry to Me,” and the comical “Lisa’s Hula” for the hotel talent show. Audiences hear some master recordings from the film’s soundtrack, and other numbers performed live. A couple of terrific singers shine: Doug Carpenter, who plays Johnny’s cousin Billy Kostecki, belts a gorgeous “In the Still of the Night,” and Jennlee Shallow movingly solos on “You Don’t Own Me” and “We Shall Overcome.” ....

A few weaker links in the acting department dampen the fizz at times, but most such moments go by too fast to cause damage. ....
If it's "really fun" for a theater company to change the story so that the characters sing some of the songs and so that new songs are added, then it might be "really fun" if ABC exercises similar creativity.

========

In ancient Greece there were annual festivals that featured drama competitions. A mythical story -- for example the Oedipus Rex story -- would be chosen for the year's competition. The entire population already knew the mythical story from famous legends and poems. Various drama clubs were sponsored by wealthy patrons, and each club prepared a play and then performed it at the festival. A prize was presented for the year's best play.

Although each play was about the same mythical story, each play presented unique scripts, songs, characters and plot details. Watching the variety of plays was an enriching experience. The mythical story was elaborated. Some minor characters became major characters. Background details and subplots were added. New poetry and songs became popular. Citizens who attended such a festival and watched a dozen different plays about, for example, Oedipus Rex enriched their understanding of that mythical story.

Even if an Oedipus Rex play already had been performed many years previously, the various new plays performed at this year's festival were not considered to be "re-makes". Rather, each new play was appreciated as an original play.

========

The ABC original movie enriches the abstract "Dirty Dancing" story that has become a part of our culture.

Even if you watched the ABC original movie and hated it, the new idea has been planted into your mind that Jake as a young man used to work as a waiter at the Kellerman resort hotel and that he met Marjorie there. You never will get that idea out of your subconscious mind.

Similarly, people who watched the stage play know now that the song "We Shall Overcome" was sung at the Kellerman resort hotel during the Kellermans' vacation.

As the abstract story is told variously in separate dramas, new details are added -- for example, young Jake the waiter and the song "We Shall Overcome". This elaboration is similar to the drama-festival elaboration of the Oedipus Rex story in Greece's culture.

=======

This essay is the first in a series of four articles.

The series second article is here.