Delray Beach's Alan Scharf has a pivotal role in "Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story On Stage." Setting off one of the story's main conflicts, his character steals a bunch of wallets.
"It's a living," says Scharf.
The national tour of the show, based on the 1987 movie phenomenon, touches down in Miami for a limited run at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts from Jan. 3-8.
"They talk about me a lot during the show," Scharf continues. "I'm the fellow who steals all the wallets. It's the theme that runs through the whole story. They increased the size of my part a great deal [from the movie], so I'm pleased about that. Plus they gave me a song to do – 'Besame Mucho' – which kind of brings down the house."
Set in the summer of 1963, against the backdrop of the rise of civil rights and feminism, the show follows the movie's plot where a sheltered 17-year-old Frances "Baby" Houseman vacations with her family in the Catskill Mountains. She discovers the bump-and-grind dance moves the resort staff do in their living quarters after hours and becomes mesmerized by dance instructor Johnny Castle.
Like the movie, the theatric production includes hit songs "Hungry Eyes," "Hey Baby" and "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" as well as hits from 1960s pop and R&B stars such as Otis Redding, Lesley Gore, Marvin Gaye, Solomon Burke, the Contours, the Chantels, the Drifters and Gene Chandler. Billed as a play with music, the show is not a musical in the strictest sense where characters break out in song. In the stage version, the music mostly arrives organically from a record player, a radio or a dance band in the show's story line.
But for Scharf, it's the dancing that blows him away.
"There's one particular scene in the beginning of the show where I am awestruck by the dancing," he says. "I'm suppose to be blown away and I have very little acting to do. I am literally struck with awe, especially with the young lady who plays Penny [Jennifer Mealani Jones], she's amazing."
Aside from acting (he appeared in the 1978 camp classic movie "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes"), Scharf may be best known as a member of the 1960s-era folk music group The Highwaymen. He and fellow former Highwaymen vocalist Roy Connors still tour as the duo Two Guys. (Go to 2GuysHarmony.com for more information.)
"He lives in Boca," Scharf explains. "We got together to see how we sound. We sounded pretty good."
He went on to say that after growing up in Brooklyn, he and his wife Ilene lived in San Diego for 39 years where they raised their four children, Dylan, Rebecca, Jeff and Paul (they now have six grandchildren). They also lived in Las Vegas for nine years before moving to first Coconut Creek and then Delray Beach.
"We moved from the desert to the swamp," he says. "I love Delray. It's a very lovely place. We go to Arts Garage from time to time. As far as dining, one of our favorite places is La Bamba and then some of the other places by the water. But I have to tell you that the place where we live has 12 tennis courts, so I play tennis a lot. My wife Ilene is a nurse, a RN ... for BrightStar Home Health. I'm also busy. I run down to Miami for auditions to do commercials. I was in a number of 'Magic City' episodes when that was down there. We both keep busy."
It was Ilene who gave him leave to travel with "Dirty Dancing."
"She said, 'Go ahead and do this tour. It's OK if I'm alone for a year.' And I'm so glad she did. I'm having a ball."
"Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story On Stage" runs Jan. 3-8 at Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $27-$96. To order, call 561-832-7469 or go to Kravis.org.