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Interview with Josef Brown, star of 'Dirty Dancing -- The Classic Story On Stage'

Posted: May 14, 2009 12:19 p.m.
Updated: May 15, 2009 6:07 a.m.

Josef Brown, left, is the sexy Australian star of "Dirty Dancing," now playing at the Pantages Theatre.

 
Josef Brown started as an actor, but then fell in love with dancing; now he has the role of a lifetime, staring as Johnny Castle in "Dirty Dancing" onstage at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.

"It's really exciting, it's a role I love and I've been doing it four years now," said Brown, of Australia. "I love the dancing. I love going from the mambo and the cha-cha to waltzing, which I love - but then you get to break out and do the ‘dirty' dancing."

Brown said he enjoys the wonderful response audiences give the show at every performance.

"Working with such incredible actors and dancers is one of the most inspiring things a performer can experience," he said. "I'm so fortunate to be surrounded by such an incredible cast."

Brown was raised in Sydney, Australia and was an average teenager, but soon caught the acting bug, he said. He started dance lessons at age 15 and his talent landed him at the Sydney performing arts high school.

He studied at the Australian Ballet School and at age 24 he had earned a soloist slot with the Australian Ballet.

He signed on with "Dirty Dancing" - his first professional acting role - when the show was opened in Australia and hasn't looked back through four years of international performances.

In 2005 Brown was awarded "Best Performer in a Stage Musical" at the Australian Dance Awards for his role as Johnny in the Australian production.

The show broke attendance records when it opened on London's West End.

This is the show's first American tour.

"Audiences love this story, it really crosses generations," he said. "I've done a lot of theater in my life and there are many shows where all you get is a polite clap, but this show has people honestly standing and cheering and screaming. It is a once in a lifetime experience."

Brown attributes some of the success of the show to its message of change and hope.

"It is also a wonderful coming of age story, there are so few of those for women," he said. "It also is about change and hope. We always want to believe in hope - and that the world can change. It is a powerful kind of story."

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