Rosie Frascona may be fresh out of drama school but she is the leading lady in the stage version of Dirty Dancing – and she hasn’t even seen the film!
The young actress plays the role of idealistic teenager Baby in the adaptation of the hit film currently packing them in at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield.
She admitted: “I’ve never seen the film! I must be the only girl of my age never to have seen it. I’d heard about it, of course.
“I read the script and I cried for about 45 minutes, because I relate to it. She is feeling so much. For me the most touching line is ‘This is somebody who’s taught me that there are people willing to stand up for other people no matter what it costs them’.”
As in the much-loved 1987 film starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, Baby arrives at a resort in the US Catskill Mountains in the early 1960s and meets dance instructor Johnny Castle, who is from the wrong side of the tracks.
She learns about dancing and love in the arms of Johnny, played by another youngster, Lewis Kirk. He stepped in when Gareth Bailey was injured and couldn’t continue.
Rosie, who only left LAMDA drama school last July, said: “It was challenging doing the show at the beginning, especially because my leading man changed. Their bodies are very different – you just get used to one body and then you have to work with a rather different guy.
“I’m quite a trusting person, so I was fine relearning the lifts with Lewis. You just have to be open to it.”
They had just three weeks to learn to work with each other before going on stage together.
Rosie said: “Luckily, Lewis had worked with Claire Rogers, who plays his professional dancer partner Penny, before. She is just unbelievable and incredibly beautiful to watch on stage.”
Her fast learning curve in the part mirrored Baby’s journey of learning to dance in just two weeks. Rosie said: “Baby isn’t supposed to end up being a dancer like Penny. The director and choreographer were saying to me, ‘Remember how this feels now when you’re om stage in eight months’ time’! Of course it gets easier but you just have to keep it fresh.”
She said of her character: “Baby does go through a lot emotionally and she does grow as a person.
”She wants the best for everybody. When Johnny comes back for her at the end, someone shows her that respect, love and admiration that she wants for eveybody in her life and world.”
Rosie said that she finds the period of 1963 fascinating because so much was changing for young people and they were starting to challenge racism and poverty, like Baby wants to. She said: “It’s really about not giving up on people and not giving up on change.
“Baby is very inspiring. I feel very lucky. It’s kind of like exploring those bits of me I like most about myself, things like not giving up.
“She can be too much at times but it’s inspiring to see someone with so much gusto about what really mattered to her.”
Dirty Dancing is at the Lyceum until Saturday. Tickets: call 0114 249 6000 or go online at www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk