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They don't believe I've not seen it; THEATRE; Dirty Dancing stage star Roseanna Frascona reveals she's never watched iconic movie but thinks it only made her work harder to portray Baby's teen angst and passion.

Byline: STEVE HENDRY

It's only to be expected that Roseanna Frascona is having the time of her life in the stage show of Dirty Dancing.

Playing Baby in the touring musical of the classic 1987 film is her first major role since graduating from drama school.

If it's obviously a special part for the young actress, it is also something of a surprise as she comes to it completely fresh having never seen the iconic movie starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey.

She said: "I never have and when I got the audition, I thought I had two options – watch it, then try to emulate it, or don't watch it, read the script and try to bring as much as I can to the part as it's written.

"I went with the second one because it was my gut instinct.

"Later, I spoke to the director who said, 'I don't think you should watch it'.

"Of course, everybody knows it already and it's the same script with a few extra scenes. We follow the same lines and hopefully the character does land on the same moments.

"People don't believe I haven't seen it after they have seen the show so hopefully I'm doing something right."

The worldwide smash–hit is set in the summer of 1963 and 17–year–old Frances 'Baby' Houseman's life is about to change forever.

On holiday in New York's Catskill Mountains with her older sister and parents, she stumbles upon the staff quarters of the resort where an all–night dance party is in full swing led by dance instructor Johnny Castle.

She soon finds herself being Johnny's leading lady both on–stage and off.

Knowing little about Dirty Dancing, and being an actor first and foremost, as opposed to a dancer, has stood her in good stead playing a young girl learning to stand, and dance, on her own two feet.

She is putting the obvious parallel of being a young actress among an experienced cast, which includes Gareth Bailey as Johnny, Claire Rogers as Penny, Colin Charles as Tito and James Coombes as Dr Jake Houseman, to good use.

Roseanna said: "When I first started, the choreographer said to me, 'Remember this feeling of what you are doing, so you can come back to it six months down the line when it is all getting easier for you'. She still has to find all those moments really hard. I have had that real life experience and finding that journey yourself is probably easier than trying to copy somebody else because I am not Jennifer Grey and I am never going to be her but I can be a young girl moving on from innocence and being a little bit naive.

"There's a lot of things about her character that is there in the script.

"I really love the part. I am really lucky to come out and have a part like Baby, not just because she is a lead role but also because she is such a nice person.

"So to get to go on stage and play someone who is really lovely every night eases you into the profession a little bit."

For Roseanna, Dirty Dancing has also proved itself much more than a sentimental crowd–pleaser for women of a certain age trying to relive their youth.

The actress, 23, who studied English at Oxford, believes the production has thrived because the script has a depth that is often overlooked.

She said: "It is a love story and everybody loves a love story but it does have civil rights in there, sister–sister relationship, friendships, father–daughter relationship and, of course, the abortion context. So it is not just a love story.

"Baby is intelligent, she is going off to study economics of undeveloped countries, she clearly cares about things.

"Yes, its's pink and fluffy and it does have this fantastic feel–good finale and people are right to come to it for that reason but it's not just pink fluff."

While the subtexts and subplots help lift Dirty Dancing to a different level, its popularity is done no harm by a soundtrack, which includes Hungry Eyes, Hey Baby, Do You Love Me? and, of course, (I've Had) The Time Of My Life, not to mention that rousing finale in which the audience play a part.

She said: "The final scene of the film is played to an audience so they are literally part of the action and that is made clear by Johnny coming up through the aisles.

"There is a very special moment when that music is about to begin and as that character, and as the actor as well, you just feel a little bit like, 'Let's do something fantastic'. It feels very special to have the audience behind you."

Dirty Dancing is at the King's Theatre, Glasgow, until September 20. Box Office: 0844 871 7648, www.dirtydancingontour.com

CAPTION(S):

TALENT... Roseanna is loving playing Baby

LESSONS... Penny and Johnny help with Baby's steps

CHEMISTRY... Johnny has a 'heart to heart' with Baby

UPLIFTING... Baby and Johnny try out the big dance jump
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 7, 2014
Words:866
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