Photo provided to China Daily
"I think everyone remembers his or her first real love affair, with all of its joys and all of its embarrassments and pain in detail," he says. "Right from the very start, there was immediate audience identification with the film.
"This same identification happens with the stage show, but it is made even more intense by the immediacy of a live performance. A young woman, coming of age and experiencing both love and independence for the first time is a universal occurrence, transcending any cultural differences."
Whitfield knew that she had big shoes to fill: Grey's depiction of Baby defined the role for a generation.
"During the auditions, I admit to watching the film several times," she says. "I wanted to have a good understanding of Baby's journey. Every girl dreams of being Baby. She has such an exciting story to tell. I believe that we can all relate to her in some way: That feeling of first love, falling in love or wanting to fall in love.
"But it's impossible to be a copy of someone. You want to play the character honestly and the only way to do that is to get to know and explore it yourself. It's trusting the script, directions and the feelings behind the words and dancing," she says.
It is the South African's first time performing in Hong Kong and she is keen to dance her favorite number: Time of My Life, the showstopper Grammy-winning duet sung by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.
"Gareth (Bailey, who plays Johnny Castle), Mila (De Biaggi, who plays Penny Johnson) and I were in Hong Kong for three days in March and we were greeted with such a wonderful welcome," she says. "Much of this show relies on audience reaction and response. I am looking forward to seeing how the people of Hong Kong react."