Cast interview: Dirty Dancing ready for Wolverhampton tour stop next year

By Megan Archer | Entertainment | Published:

It goes without saying… but I had the time of my life at Dirty Dancing at The Alexandra in Birmingham last night.

Michael O'Reilly, who plays Johnny, Kira Malou who stars as Baby and Simone Covele playing Penny in Dirty Dancing. Picture: Alastair Muir

The cult classic film makes a smooth transition from screen to stage - and it really is a delight to watch.

Stars of the show Michael O’Reilly - as Johnny Castle - and Kira Malou - playing Baby - were wonderfully likeable - and enchanted the audience with their romantic - and often raunchy - performance.

I was lucky enough to pop in and visit both Michael and Kira ahead of Wednesday evening’s performance to talk about their upcoming tour to Wolverhampton, and just how difficult that famous lift was to learn…

The production features all the famous scenes from the film. Picture: Alastair Muir

Dirty Dancing will be at the Grand Theatre in the city from April 1 to 6 and runs at The Alex until Saturday night.

Actor Michael O’Reilly said it’s one of those shows people will ‘love’.

“There’s so many great things about the show,” he said. “It’s a wonderful show for people who have watched the film, as we’ve stayed really close to the script.

“We have all the classic songs in there that people are going to love. We have a live band on stage too and those guys play their hearts out.”


He added: “For people that have been at home and watched the film and thought wow I love it - for those people who want more, and feel like they want to be a part of it, that’s where we come in.

“They can come to the theatre, they can sit there and be a part of it and they get to have that experience with us. And I think that’s the magic that brings people in and keeps people coming back to the show over and over again. They love being there with Baby and Johnny and they love being part of the story which I think is really nice.”

A live band play as part of the production. Picture: Alastair Muir

Kira Malou, who plays Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman, revealed there was a huge amount of pressure playing such an iconic role.


“Everyone knows the film,” she said. “And they love the film as well, and the characters in it. So of course you want to do the character justice and portray them well. So, there is a lot of pressure.”

That famous lift though, where Johnny lifts Baby high above his head in the grand and final dance of the performance, wasn’t too hard to master - according to the pair.

Kira said: “Do you know what? We got it right first time. It was really scary as Michael is really tall and then to add the arm’s length on it - so when I went up I did let out a little squeal.

“There’s so much pressure as everyone knows it’s coming, they’re expecting it, and it is like the symbol for the whole movie. It could go so wrong and we can’t do another take on it - but, touch wood, it has not gone wrong.”

Set in 1963, Dirty Dancing sees a disappointed 17-year-old Baby spending a summer at a sleepy resort with her parents and sister.

The show has been wowing audiences at The New Alexandra Theatre. Picture: Alastair Muir

But her luck turns around when the resort’s dance instructor Johnny enlists Baby as his new partner, and the two fall in love.

The show features hit songs Hungry Eyes, (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, and Be My Baby.

It will show at The Alexandra until this Saturday, and then will arrive at The Grand in Wolverhampton from April 1 to 6 next year.

Visit for Wolverhampton or for Birmingham for tickets and more information.

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Deputy Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Deputy Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email


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