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 and let’s promote it ALL up proper!


Academy Awards Groove of the Day/Madonna/”You Must Love Me”

Although we’ve spent the week featuring those grooves that didn’t snag the Academy Award for Best Original Song, this is the winning Madonna owned ballad from Evita we’re spilling about here, so respect and attention must be paid. 

Of course, who get forget the Material Girl slipping into the wardrobe, style and songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s beloved musical? No one.

While many people grumbled and rumbled over Madge playing the late Argentinian First Lady, Ms. Eva Peron (namely..all of Argentina), the “Like a Prayer” songstress nailed every drop of it and our Evita lives were never the same again. 

Although Madonna didn’t even get nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Peron, she did take home the Golden Globe (and if you’ll remember it was two months after she gave birth to daughter Lourdes..and who could forget those Globes when she accepted the award?), which would still lead her to the Oscars stage for a somber rendition of “You Must Love Me,” which actually snatched the Oscar over Celine Dion‘s “Because You Loved Me” that same year. 

While it appears that Madonna was nowhere to be found when Webber and co-writer Tim Rice accepted the Oscar, it was a Material music moment that we’ll, um, cherish for the rest of our Madonna lives. 

Well, that and the dance remix of “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina,” of course. 


Halloween Groove of the Day/The Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast/”The Time Warp”

Featured in both the 1973 stage adaption and in the 1975 cult classic film, “The Time Warp” is just one of the beloved songs from everyone’s favorite Halloween inspired pop culture spectacle/musical, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Becoming an instant hit, the song is one of the major audience-participation activities during screenings of the film(which you know you’ve watched a hundred times already this month) and has also shown its garter-ed up legs to be oh, so popular beyond the reaches of the film and show, often being played at school dances, weddings and the occasional bar/bat mitzvah. 

Over the years, “The Time Warp” has also been rewerked by several music artists and T.V. shows, including the now defunct Glee cast (hey, Chord Overstreet) and most famously on The Drew Carey Show, who took the original and turned it into a Mimi-sized Priscilla Queen of the Desert mash-up that we’ll never forget anytime soon. 

While “The Time Warp” didn’t place on U.S. charts, it was a huge hit, um, down under, going on to hop its way into the top five on the Australian music charts. But being that the The Rocky Horror Picture Show just celebrated its monumental 40th anniversary this year (and will be getting a Laverne Cox assisted FOX reboot early next year)there’s no denying that “The Time Warp” won’t be sashaying away anytime soon, no matter what season it is. 

And remember…it’s always just a jump to the left and a step to the right.