DIRTY Dancing has got to be one of the most iconic films of all time as Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey told the ultimate story of a holiday romance.
Baby Houseman is any actresses dream as the sweet, innocent girl taken on the journey of a lifetime.
Jill Winternitz has taken on the iconic role as she prepares to perform at Stoke’s Regent Theatre from Tuesday to Saturday, March 12 to 30.
The American said so far the tour had gone well. She said: “We are in Nottingham now for the rest of the week and then over to Stoke.
“It has been so well received all around the country. The enthusiasm of the audiences has been great.
“I am looking forward to bringing it to Stoke. I spent a day for the press conferences in Stoke and I got to go into the theatre and the city centre for a couple of radio interviews.
“I am looking forward to spending some time in the countryside around Stoke as it is very beautiful.”
Dirty Dancing tells the story of Baby who goes on holiday with her family and falls for dance instructor Johnny Castle as she discovers life and love in a memorable summer.
When asked about Baby, Winternitz said: “It is the most exciting character I have come across so far in my career.
“Every evening I am so grateful to have the opportunity to play her as it is such as iconic part that has touched so many people.
“I think it makes it more positive and exciting that Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze made them such iconic characters. That has given us the chance to continue the story and we can take them as inspiration.
“It is a different medium in the theatre so there is something more for the audience than if they were just watching it at home on a DVD. I don’t like to view it as pressure but more of a gift.”
However, Winternitz, who theatre credits include Ophelia in Hamlet, The Prioress in Canterbury Tales and Nina in The Seagull, admitted she had not seen the film before getting the audition.
She said: “I hadn’t seen the film before the audition and then I watched it a couple of times as I had no idea of the characters.
“I like to immerse myself in the character and the story and era. Since getting the role I have been able to create my own version of Baby within the framework of the story using my own experiences and inspirations.
“This means it is not a replica of the film performance for the audience.”
Speaking of the famous lift, said she said: “It is actually my favourite part of the show as it came really easy to me. I had four weeks of rehearsals with my co-star Paul-Michael (Jones) and it was not long before he was lifting me straight up.
“It came quite naturally to me. I do yoga classes and I had a revelation the other day that the move is like one I have been doing in the class.
“Working with the rest of the cast has been wonderful. There has been so much talent and singing backstage. I am very inspired by them and like to have a sneak peek when I have a break.”
When asked her favourite role and what is next for her, the actress said: “I loved playing Ophelia in Hamlet as I am a big Shakespeare fan so it was a dream come true for me. When the tour has finished I am going out to the States to pursue some America television roles.”
Tickets for Dirty Dancing are available from the box office on 0844 8717649 or by visiting www.atgtickets.com/stoke