Quantum Leap (1991) – Private Dancer and Piano Man

Sam (Scott Bakula) finds himself in the body of a male stripper, Rod ‘The Bod’ in Private Dancer.

Written by Paul Brown this episode first aired on 20 March, 1991. As Rod, Al (Dean Stockwell) informs Sam that he is there to help a young, deaf, waitress, and hopeful dancer, Dianna (Rhondee Beriault) and stop her from turning to a life of prostitution to help make ends meet, which in the original history led to her dying from AIDs.

It’s 6 October, 1979 and Sam is going to try and help her get an audition, but has to win her trust, and put on his dancing shoes. Legendary dancer, choreographer, and actress Debbie Allen co-stars as well as directs this episode.

Al believes that not only is Sam there to keep Dianna out of hooking but get her back to school. She, in turn, is fixated on dancing and is constantly trying to impress Joanna Chapman (Allen), the runner of a dance troupe, whenever she is in the club Dianna works at.

This is a wonderfully strong episode, playing to Bakula’s strengths, and Beriault makes for a nice guest appearance and the deaf angle is handled beautifully, as enjoyable as the episode’s choreography.

The series continues to exemplify the best in anthology storytelling, with recurring characters, and does a beautiful job of engaging the audience in the series stories from week to week. It also gives Bakula a chance to show what a diverse performer he can be. It’s no wonder he was nominated for an Emmy for almost every season of the show, as well as taking one home in 1992 for his role as Sam.

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Piano Man originally aired on 27 March, 1991, and was penned by Ed Scharlach. At first blush, even the synopsis feels like a rehash of Her Charm.

Sam leaps into piano player Chuck Danner on 10 November, 1985. But, Chuck is in fact not really Chuck, he witnessed a mob killing and has been on the run ever since, changing his name, and surviving as he can.

That is until his ex-girlfriend and klutz, Lorraine (Marietta DePrima) walks back into his life. Her current beau, Carl (Angelo Tiffe) has told her to seek Chuck out and settle the past so that they can get on with their lives, but he actually has an ulterior motive.

The episode, obviously as suggested by the title, features Bakula singing, and the song, Somewhere in the Night, which appears on the Quantum Leap soundtrack makes its debut here.

As the pair end up on the run together, it’s apparent that there is still chemistry between Chuck and Lorraine. Meanwhile, someone must be feeding the mob hit man information on their location because he seems to keep finding them.

To protect her and possibly save Chuck’s life, Sam hurts Lorraine, driving her away from him, but inevitably into trouble. Sam will have to save her, himself and find out how the mob is able to track him down if he’s going to leap!

Of course, he solves it, happily, and reunites with Lorraine… allowing Sam to leap into a brothel… oh, boy.

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