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Dirty Dancing Tea w/ Alyssa Brizzi

Whether you still live for the soundtrack, you’re a certified master of the infamous “Lift,” belt out all of the words to the dearly departed Patrick Swayze‘s “She’s Like the Wind” in the shower or because nobody puts Baby or you in the corner, for that matter, the classic movie, Dirty Dancing, certainly has something for everybody.

Even more so this year more than ever as the beloved film is celebrating thirty years (yes, it’s true) of giving us the time of our lives. So to celebrate this momentous occasion (anyone also see the commercials for the upcoming ABC helmed T.V. version? Of course you have), the national tour of the critically acclaimed musical version of the box office busting 1987 film is taking over Philly for a special weeklong engagement at the Merriam Theater beginning tonight through this Sunday, May 21st

So, to get all of you fabulous guys and gals even more excited (as if it were possible) for this week’s Swayze-stravaganza that’s sure to take over the City of Brotherly Love, Philly Mixtape spilled some Dirty Dancing Tea with incredible cast member, Alyssa Brizzi, who’s been getting rave reviews on the tour for her portrayal of mousey over achiever, Lisa Houseman. 

Get to know Ms. Brizzi below as she spilled about her background, those albums she can’t live without (hint…Gavin Degraw everything) and what she hopes all generations of Dirty Dancing fans will take away from the show during its Philly run. 

Hey, Alyssa! Thank you so much for taking the time to spill some Dirty Dancing tea with Philly Mixtape! Kicking things off, tell everyone about your background and maybe include the one moment where you figured out that being on that stage was your true calling…At the age of 2 my mom put me in private tap dance classes. I remember having my first solo, “Me and My Cabbage Patch Doll.” My poor mother spent a couple hundred dollars to get me this doll and I ended up being too scared to get up on the stage. However, I quickly overcame that fear. Growing up, I trained with The National Ballet School of Canada in Toronto, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Banff Ballet. During high school was when I realized that the ballet world wasn’t for me and Broadway was my true calling. I ended up as a finalist on the CBC reality television show called Triple Sensation, Season Two. Aside from the television show, I performed in numerous Equity shows in Canada such as Gypsy, Big- The Musical, West Side Story, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. After graduating high school I ended up packing my things and moving to the Big Apple to attend The American Musical and Dramatic Academy. After leaving AMDA in NYC I performed down in Hilton Head, SC in Hairspray as Shelley/ understudy Amber. Immediately following Hairspray I moved to Japan to perform as the lead aerialist in Mystic Rhythms for Tokyo DisneySea. Since returning to the USA in 2012, I have toured with Beauty and the Beast as their dance captain/swing for two years, performed in numerous Vegas shows, and was in the original cast of Idaho! The Comedy Musical at the Smith Center in Las Vegas. Now, here I am back to touring North America with the wonderful Broadway national tour of Dirty Dancing as the quirky, over-achieving Lisa Houseman! There isn’t a moment where I can look back and think that I ever wanted to do anything other than this. It is an absolute dream come true! I couldn’t be more thankful!!

Moving onto the show, what do you hope all generations will take away once they see the beloved Dirty Dancing live on stage this week?  I hope that each member in the audience gets to experience the love that each and every one of us have on that stage for this wonderful show and for each other. The story is phenomenal and the cast is equally as incredible! This is not a show you’re going to want to miss!

What is your all-time favorite moment from the film? My favorite moment in the film has always been the wacky, crazy Hula, which is totally ironic now that I get to perform the Hula 8 or 9 times a week!

Shout out for me three albums you simply can’t live without…The Essential by Van Morrison……Little Voice by Sara Bareilles……Sweeter by Gavin DeGraw…really anything he sings! 

What’s maybe been the most challenging part of this show for not just you, but maybe the whole cast during the national tour? Stage left has a pre-show choreographed dance that we add-on one count of 8 every show. We are now on our 6th version and are currently struggling trying to remember it.

One last sip, what words of advice would you give to someone who just started out in this crazy business? Work hard, train as much as you can, and always be your biggest fan. This business is full of rejections and you’ve got to have your own back when it seems like no one else does. It’s an industry that is extremely challenging but it is so worth it when you receive that phone call offering you that show! Dreams do come true, don’t give up!

To grab those tickets for this week’s run of Dirty Dancing:The Musical at the Merriam Theater, go right here, right now and get ready to have the true time of your life…because you most certainly will. 

Are you an entertainer, promoter or event planner who’s lifting up everybody’s spirits with your talents in the city of Philadelphia? Then Philly Mixtape wants to hear from you! For questions, comments and everything else in beat-tween (everyone’s welcome here, so don’t ever be shy), become a fan on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and/or email Patrick DeMarco at iluvbeatz96@gmail.com and let’s promote it ALL up proper!

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5 Albums Celebrating Milestones in 2017/Classic Soundtracks Edition

Oh, the days when soundtracks were just as big as their accompanying films. Doesn’t it seem like a long lost art? 

That’s because it most certainly is and once you dive or maybe lift into the soundtracks of Dirty Dancing, Sister Act, Titanic, Saturday Night Fever and even Mo’ Money, you’ll be reminded on how they truly just don’t make ’em like they used to anymore. 

Saturday Night Fever/1977  John Travolta.Bee Gees...”Stayin’ Alive” and everything else they jived up on this soundtrack…Yvette Ellman‘s “If I Can’t Have You…Wyclef Jean. Well, that pretty much sums up this ’70s movie going experience all sorts of up.

And what an experience it was and always will be thanks to its long-lasting strobe lit soundtrack containing all of those hits, honey. Admit it…you’re about to put the needle on the 8 track right about..now. 

Dirty Dancing/1987  Since you took those Dirty Dancing classes in the ’80s, Blanche, you know just how delightfully dirrrty any of the tracks on the almost three decade old soundtrack to the smash ’80s box office hit. 

To practicing that lift until we get it right to “I’ve Had the Time Of My Life” to Eric Carmen‘s feisty “Hungry Eyes” to classics “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes to “Love Is Strange” by Micky & Sylvia, the Dirty Dancing soundtrack and the film itself are the pop culture gifts that keep on giving. 

And when it comes to the dearly departed Patrick Swayze‘s star contribution, “She’s Like the Wind,” grab a Kleenex because you’re going to need one right now.

Sister Act/1992  Since this movie and its heavenly accompanying soundtrack still make us clutch our Sister Mary Clarence pearls upon every whimsical listening and viewing party, there’s no reason to discuss how “Rescue Me,” “Gravy,” “My God,” “I Will Follow Him” and “Hail Holy Queen” have affected our Whoopi lives ever since they were put into one fabulous movie twenty-five years ago. 

But the real question here is…what the f#$k happened to the lovely ladies of Lady Soul who sang Sister‘s theme song, “If My Sister’s in Trouble?” We have a feeling they might be in trouble since they haven’t been seen or heard from since 1992. While that be a true mystery from above, here will have a beautiful soundtrack that even Ms. Maggie Smith, err, Mother Superior would still approve of. 

Oh, and may C+C Music Factory‘s “Just a Touch of Love (Everyday)” always take a piece of our movie montage hearts with it whenever this movie is on. Which is indeed like, everyday. You betta werk, Sister Mary Patrick

Mo’ Money/1992  From Ralph Tresvant‘s “Money Can’t Buy You Love” to Johnny Gill‘s “Let’s Just Run Away to MC Lyte‘s delicious “Ice Cream Dream” to Caron Wheeler‘s “I Adore You” to Big Daddy Kane‘s “A Job Ain’t Nothin But Work” to, well, you get the idea of the fine display of early ’90s hip hop and R&B truth that will forever be laced on the Mo’ Money soundtrack.

Although the Damon Wayons starring film itself is sort of forgettable (thank you, Ms. Dash), these tracks seemingly get better with age, especially when it comes to “Best Things in Life Are Free” by Ms. Janet and the dearly departed. Mr. Luther Vandross. Not only is the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produced number the most underrated track in both artists’ music vault, it’s the reason we’ll always be saying “Oooh…Luther” for life.

Isn’t that right. Ms. J? Yas.

Titanic/1997 I mean….if you need any kind of explanation for this soundtrack and its movie that took over our ’97 and beyond lives….you have no idea who Celine Dion is and you let go of Jack way too soon. Plus, you never had him go down and get it for you in the end and realized that awwe… he shouldn’t have. Enough said. 

And, you know, that version of “My Heart Will Go On” with all of the Titanic dialogue you love still rips us apart every time.