ABC has set the full cast and premiere date for its upcoming three-hour remake of the 1987 classic “Dirty Dancing.” And among the cast is Billy Dee Williams who will play the Catskill Mountain resort’s bandleader Tito – a role that was originated by Charles Coles in the original film. The character is described as the overseer of the hotel’s musicians and entertainers.
Williams joins star Abigail Breslin as Baby, a young woman in the early 1960s who vacations with her affluent parents and siblings in the Catskills, and falls for Johnny (Colt Prattes), the resort’s charismatic, skilled dance instructor and leader of the working-class entertainment staff.
In terms of other black actors in the musical’s cast, there’s also J. Quinton Johnson who most recently appeared in the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning Lin-Manuel Miranda Broadway musical “Hamilton.” We aren’t told what role he’s playing however.
Debra Messing, Bruce Greenwood, Nicole Scherzinger, Sarah Hyland, Tony Roberts and Katey Sagal round out the cast of the feature which ABC will premiere on Wednesday, May 24, 8-11pm EST.
Produced by Lionsgate in association with Allison Shearmur Productions, the special three-hour filmed musical event features the story from the beloved 1987 romantic drama and instant movie classic told from a fresh perspective, diving deeper into the characters, showcasing their progression and tackling social themes like race, women’s rights and the socio-economic division in the country at that time.
The remake is written by Jessica Sharzer, with Wayne Blair directing. “Hamilton” choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler is doing the same here.
Executive producers are by Allison Shearmur and Eleanor Bergstein, who wrote the screenplay for the original movie.