INTERVIEW// Carlie Milner returns as Penny for the new Dirty Dancing tour

The all dancing extravaganza returns with a new production on February 13th.

Above: Carlie Milner performs as 'Penny' with Dirty Dancing's 'Johnny'.

Dirty Dancing may turn 30 later this year, but it still manages to capture the hearts of many with its entertaining storyline and hypnotising dance moves.

With its catchy tracks and fast feet, the Hollywood blockbuster starring Patrick Swayze as dance instructor Johnny Castle alongside co-star, Jennifer Grey as Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman, became a surprise hit and achieved enormous international success. Believe it or not, the iconic movie actually started out life as a low-budget film which was only intended to be shown in theaters for one weekend before then being released on video, but the rest they say is history.

Ever since making the leap from screen to stage in 2004, Dirty Dancing has been entertaining the masses throughout the world and now the much loved story of Johnny and Baby returns with a brand new production.

The all dancing extravaganza is set to arrive at the Millennium Forum on Monday 13th February and we caught up with Dirty Dancing’s ‘Penny’, otherwise known as Carlie Milner for a chat about the upcoming production.

“The show has obviously been on tour before but this production has a new vision as we have a new choreographer and also a new director.” Carlie said when asked about the what we can expect from the new production.

“We have new scenery for the show which is a bit more intimate. It’s basically a brand new version so even if you have seen the production before, it’s worth coming to watch the show again” she added.

Carlie is part of the Dirty Dancing family; starting out as a member of the ensemble in 2014, she covered and subsequently took over the role of ‘Penny’ in 2015 and now returns for the new tour.

“It’s always nice to have a slightly different take on it, or different direction” she said. “It could be something as obvious as different scenery or a different way of walking to or from the stage.

“When we were in rehearsals for this production, we had the original writer Eleanor Bergstein there to watch as well. As she was the one who created all the characters, it was really interesting to hear her take on certain scenes and the way I should be reacting.

“She was also able to give me more background information for the character which was really nice because ultimately that will influence what I choose to do on stage.”

Dirty Dancing Promo Vid

With Carlie being first and foremost a dancer at heart, it came as no surprise when she revealed her favourite part of the show. “I absolutely love the Mambo scene” she said. “It’s also a great introduction to the characters Penny and Johnny. It is just a great number to dance to.”

“Penny is such an interesting character to play too” she added. “She has this whirlwind of a story and she goes through a journey of emotions. There’s the trauma of falling pregnant and dealing with it by having an abortion which was very illegal back then.

“She left home at sixteen and has had a pretty tough life so far but she is also quite tough within herself too. You can see her change from being this completely lovely character to a broken soul at times.

“There’s also this transition of her having a slightly questionable relationship with Baby to ultimately finding common ground, and then the two actually start to get along. It’s quite an epic emotional journey for her in a short space of time, and also emotional for me to perform” she said.

You are sure to have The Time of Your Life when the new production of Dirty Dancing leaps onto the Millennium Forum floorboards. Full to the brim with all the classic hits as well as the iconic lift scene involving Johnny and Baby. One thing’s for certain, no-one will be putting Baby in the corner.

Dirty Dancing will run at the Millennium Forum from Monday 13th until Saturday 18th February with tickets from £24.50.

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