Actor John Bolger: From One Life to Live to Dirty Dancing

Chicago audiences are having the time of their lives now that Dirty Dancing - the Classic Story on Stage has arrived in Chicago. The movie Dirty Dancing is legendary; the soundtrack continues to sell millions of copies. And now Chicago theater-goers are experiencing the live musical at the Cadillac Palace Theatre before the show goes to Broadway. Re-imagined for the stage by the original screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein, Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story on Stage combines all the intensity and excitement of live theater with new songs, new scenes, and thrilling new dances. Dirty Dancing is the story of Baby and Johnny - two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. The record-breaking show features 35 hit songs, including "Hungry Eyes," "Hey Baby," "Do You Love Me?" and the heart-stopping Academy Award-winning "(I've Had) The Time of My Life."

One of Dirty Dancing's pivotal characters is Baby's father, Dr. Jake Houseman. He's a familiar face to TV viewers, after starring in the primetime series, Everything's Relative with Jason Alexander and appearing in Law and Order, NYPD Blue and Sex and the City. Soap fans will remember him from General Hospital as Mayor Garrett Floyd and One Life to Live, where he played police detective John Sykes. He also directed several GH episodes.

Bolger grew up in Jamaica, Queens and went on to play middle linebacker for Bucknell University's football team. After graduating with a fine arts degree, John headed to New York University's drama school. He pursued postgraduate work in stagecraft, leaving to build and paint scenery at off-Broadway's Hudson Guild Theater, before entering architectural school at Cooper Union. John, however, could not ignore his dream of acting, and entered a two-year program at New York's Circle in the Square. In 1988, he co-founded the Willow Cabin Theatre Company, which produces several plays each year, such as Thornton Wilder's The Ages of Man and Lucrece. John not only performs, but is involved in every aspect of production, including set design and costume.

Bolger is married to Christine Radman, who is an actress and singer as well as a lawyer. The couple resides in New York with their three children. He's also the great nephew of actor Ray Bolger, known to all as the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.

Bolger appears in Dirty Dancing with a very strong cast that includes several Chicago actors and dancers. Amanda Leigh Cobb plays Frances 'Baby' Houseman and Josef Brown re-creates the role of Johnny Castle Baby's headstrong love interest. Brown previously played Johnny in London and Australian productions of Dirty Dancing Chicago's own Britta Lazenga - member of the Joffrey Ballet – is back home from the Toronto production in the role of Penny Johnson. Ben Mingay reprises his role as Billy; he has played the role in Australia, London and Toronto. They are joined by Kaitlin Hopkins as Baby's mother Marjorie, and Katlyn Carlson as sister Lisa.

Rounding out the cast of 39 are Molly C. Callinan as Vivian, Joseph Costa as Mr. Schumacher, Jonathan Epstein as Max Kellerman, namesake of the resort at which the iconic story is set, Ryan Farrell as Robbie, Michael Howell as Tito Suarez, Lauren Klein as Mrs. Schumacher, Michael Lluberes as Stan, Gary Lynch as Moe Pressman, and Michael Zahler as Neil Kellerman. The ensemble includes John Antony, Timothy Bish, Thea Brooks, Karen Burthwright, Theresa Coombe, E. Clayton Cornelious, Jean Michel Erole, Ashley Blair Fitzgerald, Hayley Henderson-Smith, Darina Jeleva, Travis Kelley, Charlie Logan, Lauralyn McClelland, Erich McMillan-McCall, Samuel Pergande, Andrew Pirozzi, Sarah Skogland, W. Easton Smith, Billy Harrigan Tighe, Aspen Vincent, Tony Vincent, Emily J. Williams, and Candice Woods.

The acclaimed creative team responsible for the record-breaking London and Toronto productions of Dirty Dancing brought the show to the United States. Directed by James Powell, with choreography by Kate Champion, the team also includes: Stephen Brimson Lewis (set design), Conrad Helfrich (music supervisor), Tim Mitchell (lighting design), Bobby Aitken (sound design), Jon Driscoll (video and projection design), Jennifer Irwin (costume design) and Craig Wilson (Latin and Ballroom dance choreographer).

Dirty Dancing is playing at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St through January 17, 2009 sale. Tickets are available at Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (18 W. Monroe, 24 W. Randolph St. and 151 W. Randolph St.), through the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (312) 902-1400, at all Ticketmaster ticket centers (including all Hot Tix, select Carson Pirie Scott, Coconuts and fye stores) or online at

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