Flashdance the Musical

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Flashdance the Musical is a stage adaptation of the 1983 musical film Flashdance with a book by Tom Hedley & Robert Cary, music by Robbie Roth and lyrics by Roth and Cary.[1] The show had a sold-out world premiere in 2008 at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth, England followed by a 16-week London West End run at the Shaftesbury Theatre ending January 15, 2011.[1] The show will begin a UK Tour, starting in Glasgow, Scotland, August 10, 2017, including a potential 5 week run in the West End.[2]

Flashdance
The Musical
Flashdancew.jpg
West End poster
Music Robbie Roth
Lyrics Robbie Roth & Robert Cary
Book Tom Hedley & Robert Cary
Basis Flashdance
Productions 2008 UK Tour
2010 West End
2013 US Tour
2013 Luzern (Switzerland)
2013 Brno (Czechia)
2014 Chemnitz (Germany)
2014 Amstetten (Austria)
2014 Paris (France)
2015 France Tour
2017 UK Tour

The musical had a US tour in 2013-2015, but an expected Broadway run was postponed.[3]

Overview[edit]

Set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the show revolves around 18-year-old Alex, a welder by day and ‘flashdancer’ by night, and her dreams of attending the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy.

Based on the Paramount Pictures film (screenplay by Tom Hedley and Joe Eszterhas, story by Tom Hedley) the UK production described itself as "an unmistakably unique musical about holding onto your dreams and love against all the odds".[4] The show includes hits "Maniac", "Manhunt", "Gloria", the award-winning title track "Flashdance – What a Feeling".[5]

Synopsis[edit]

Act 1[edit]

Pittsburgh, 1983. On the floor of Hurley Steel, young steelworker Alexandra (“Alex”) Owens welds while waiting impatiently for her shift to end (“Steeltown Sky”). She’s anxious to get to Harry’s Bar, a small club where she performs innovative, fashion-driven dances. On the mill floor, she catches the eye of Nick Hurley, the son of the mill owner, who decides he wants to learn more about her.

En route to the club, Alex meets up with her friend Gloria, who encourages Alex to pursue her dream of becoming a trained dancer in a legitimate company by applying to audition for the renowned Shipley Academy. Alex decides to take the chance and asks the academy's administrator, Ms. Wilde, for an application (“It’s All in Reach”).

As Alex warms up to perform at Harry's, her good friends (and fellow dancers) Kiki, Tess and Gloria sing “Maniac.” Alex steps onto the club stage, and she’s captivating. After her performance, she’s approached by Nick Hurley, but she rebuffs him, concerned about getting involved with her own boss. In the dressing room, her girlfriends can’t believe she’d turn down someone as attractive as Nick, but Alex sticks to her guns. Gloria, who waits tables at Harry’s but longs to perform, gets an education from the women in what inspires a “flashdance” (“Put It On”). But when the bar’s owner, Harry, enters and complains that a new lap-dance joint called Chameleon — opened down the street by a shady entrepreneur named C.C. — is starting to siphon off his once-loyal customers, Alex realizes her days at Harry’s may be numbered (“It’s All in Reach” reprise).

Anxious about her audition, Alex visits her elderly friend Hannah, a retired dancer who bolsters Alex’s confidence about getting into Shipley (“A Million to One”). Alex reports to Shipley for a preliminary audition, but she’s quickly intimidated by the accomplished, trained dancers all around her (“High Art”). She rushes out, crestfallen.

The next day, Nick approaches Alex in the steel mill's lunchroom, but once again she rejects his advances. Nick gets a playful jabbing from the steel men, who are happy to see him knocked off his pedestal (“Justice”). After they exit, he’s approached by his secretary, who shows him a list of workers slated to be fired as the company starts to outsource its manufacturing. Nick’s affection (and respect) for Alex put him in a tough spot (“Justice” reprise).

At Harry’s Bar, Gloria is hit on by C.C., the owner of the Chameleon Club. Nick, who is waiting at the club for another chance to talk to Alex, fends C.C. off. Alex is impressed by Nick’s chivalry and finally agrees to let him take her on a date. Gloria confronts her longtime boyfriend Jimmy, who is a fellow waiter at Harry’s (and Harry’s nephew), and demands to know why Jimmy never sticks up for her. Jimmy admits that he has plans to go to New York to make it as a stand-up comic; furthermore, he intends to go alone. Gloria is deeply hurt, and they break up (“Gloria”). Tess takes the stage at Harry’s to perform a rousing interpretation of “I Love Rock n’ Roll.”

Nick and Alex return to her place from their date and start to move past their assumptions about one another; she admits to her dream of attending Shipley, while he confesses that he’s torn about the employees his family wants him to fire. They begin to fall in love (“Here and Now”).

A few weeks later, Alex goes to Hannah holding an envelope from the Shipley Academy, and opens it to discover she’s been called back for a final audition (“My Next Step”). Meanwhile, C.C. lures Gloria into working at the Chameleon, while Nick visits Ms. Wilde to thank her for letting Alex have a callback—which he has paid for with a “contribution” to the Academy. Blissfully unaware of all this, Alex steps onto Harry’s stage and dances exuberantly, finishing with an iconic blast of water from above.

Act 2[edit]

At the Chameleon Club, the girls perform lasciviously as Gloria — increasingly dependent on alcohol and cocaine — realizes she’s gotten in too deep with C.C. (“Chameleon Girl”).

Alex and Nick, now very much in love, head off to face the day's challenges (“Here and Now” reprise). Alex goes to Hannah for further audition advice, and Hannah counsels Alex to forego attempting to dance classically for the judges in favor of something that expresses Alex’s unique talent and style; Nick, meanwhile, prepares to plead his case against firing the steel workers (“My Turn”).

Jimmy returns from New York, his dreams of becoming a famous stand-up comic quickly dashed. He asks his Uncle Harry for his job back, and Harry, after some initial reluctance, agrees, glad to have Jimmy home (“Where I Belong”).

Nick fails to convince his family they should hold onto the workers. When Alex discovers that many of her friends at the plant are getting laid off, she and Nick argue, causing him to inadvertently admit he arranged her callback at Shipley. Alex walks out on him in a fury, leaving Nick to question his place in the company and his path in life (“Enough”).

Kiki performs a flashdance to “Manhunt,” as Harry continues to worry about C.C.’s growing success. Alex, still upset from her fight with Nick and coping with learning the truth about her Shipley callback, discovers that Gloria — who she thought was away caring for a relative — has in fact been with C.C. at the Chameleon. She rashly decides to go to Chameleon, rescuing Gloria (with some last-minute chivalry from none other than Jimmy). Gloria and Jimmy reconcile (“Where I Belong” reprise).

Alex decides to leave Pittsburgh and return to the small town where she grew up, despite having no real prospects there. Nick appears and tries to dissuade her still (“Hang On”). She’s insistent that their relationship has too many challenges to succeed. But when Alex discovers that Hannah has passed away, leaving her some money toward her tuition at Shipley, she finally confronts her own fears and makes the choice to reach for her dreams despite the odds (“Try”).

Alex arrives at Shipley just in time to audition, and her remarkable dance dispels the judges' initial skepticism (“Flashdance — What a Feeling”). Alex is given a place in the new semester; Nick enters with flowers, and Alex, forgiving the past and certain that her acceptance was based on her true talent, presents him with a rose from the bouquet before embracing him joyously.

Production History[edit]

2008 Plymouth[edit]

The show had its world premiere in July 2008 at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth[6]

2008 UK tour[edit]

Following its premiere, Flashdance the Musical had a five month tour of the UK. The 2008-09 UK tour was directed by Kenny Leon and choreographed by Arlene Phillips, with a book by Tom Hedley & Robert Cary, music by Robbie Roth and lyrics by Robbie Roth and Robert Cary.[6] The UK touring production's cast included Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as Alex Owens, Noel Sullivan as Nick Hurley, Bernie Nolan as Hannah Owens and Bruno Langley as Jimmy Kaminsky.

2010 West End[edit]

The 2010 West End production ran at the Shaftesbury Theatre from September 2010 through January 2011.[1][7] Produced by David Ian, the show was directed by Nikolai Foster and choreographed by Phillips.[8] The cast featured Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as Alex Owens, Matt Willis as Nick Hurley, Sarah Ingram as Hannah Owens and Sam Mackay as Jimmy Kaminsky.

Previews were due to begin on September 24, 2010, postponed by technical difficulties to the following day.[9]

2013-2015 US Tour[edit]

A multi year United States tour of the show began on January 1, 2013 at Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts in Pittsburgh.[10][11][12] Emily Padgett starred as Alex Owens.[13]

2017 UK Tour[edit]

The show will begin a UK Tour, starting in Glasgow on August 10, 2017, including a potential 5 weeks in the West End. The show is produced by Selladoor Worldwide, and directed by Hannah Chiswick, choreography by Matt Cole. The tour is due to play 62 weeks in the UK alone, touring for over a year.

Other Regions[edit]

The show also had a Fall 2013 touring production in Holland followed by a major production in Stockholm, Sweden from January 2014 until March 2015. This newly revised version of the show, including new story and musical elements, was hugely successful and continued on to appearances in additional Swedish cities, including Gothenburg and Malmö.

In addition, the show had a successful seven month run in Paris from September 2014 through March 2015, followed by an arena tour in over 40 cities in France from January 2016 to May 2016.

The German language premiere took place in Kriens, Switzerland in November 2013[14] followed by production in Chemnitz, Germany and Amstetten, Lower Austria in 2014.[15][16] Flashdance the Musical has since been performed in multiple regional German language productions. It was translated into German by Anja Hauptmann.[17]

A Czech production at the Brno City Theatre ran for four years in repertoire, with a translation by Jiří Josek.[18]

Broadway Production[edit]

There had been discussion of a Broadway production. In December 2011, reports emerged stating a re-working of the London production would premiere on Broadway in "fall 2012".[19] However, as of March 2012, the official website was showing a single page with a reworked logo and the tag line "Coming to a city near you" and a confirmed engagement for the tour to visit Pittsburgh's Heinz Hall (the city where the production is set) from January 1 to 6, 2013.[20] It was later announced that after the tour, Flashdance the Musical would transfer to Broadway in August 2013. However, the producers announced in April 2013 that the August opening of Flashdance on Broadway would be postponed. The producers said that the postponement was due to a lack of theatres in the fall and too many subplots.[21][22][12]


Cast[edit]

Character Original UK Tour Cast Original West End Cast
Alex Owens Victoria Hamilton-Barritt Victoria Hamilton-Barritt
Nick Hurley Noel Sullivan Matt Willis
Hannah Owens Bernie Nolan Sarah Ingram
Jimmy Kaminsky Bruno Langley Sam Mackay
Gloria Ruthie Stevens Charlotte Harwood
Tess Djalenja Scott Twinnie Lee Moore
Keisha Carryl Thomas Hannah Levane
Abe Michael Conway Brendan Cull
Harry Gavin Spokes Russell Dixon
Joe Gavin Spokes Russell Dixon
Dr Kool Simon Harvey Ricky Rojas
Sammy Simon Harvey Andrew Spillett
CC Michael Conway Robbie White

Critical reception[edit]

Flashdance the Musical has been very well-received by the press internationally and also during its US tour. It was generally praised for the performance of its ensemble and its choreography, as well as its updated story. A review by Vancouver Sun noted that while it was still "anchored in '80s music and style," the story had "been retouched to remove a couple of the creepier elements of the original."[23]

The West End production of Flashdance the Musical was praised by London Theatre as “a slick and brilliantly-crafted production that's hard to fault.”[24]

Theatreview said in their review of the Auckland production that the play “provides much to enjoy, even if you weren't already aware of the iconic Flashdance film.”[25]

Most criticism was in regards to the play's attempt to add depth to the simplistic plot of the original 1983 film. Variety commented that that the play "unwisely pads" the original film’s screenplay.[23]

Differences Between Stage and Film[edit]

  • The film's characters Jeanie and Tina Tech have been combined to create Gloria.
  • Instead of the Zanzibar being a strip club it's now a club with no nudity - just pole dancing.
  • The character of Richie Blazik is cut and the character Jimmy Kaminsky is substituted, however the two characters have very little in common.
  • The substory in which Alex and Nick break up because Alex believes he's cheating on her is missing from the stage show.
  • All the "Flashdancer's" solos are cut, minus Alex's famous chair dance. However this is moved to the end of act one for ease of changing and clean up.
  • Songs from the film that are used in the show are used in a different context. For instance Manhunt is no longer used for a solo dance piece it is sung over a montage of Nick and Alex on a series of dates. Another example is Gloria. In the film this is used during Jeanie's ice skating solo, however in the show it is used when Gloria performs in the strip club. However "What a Feeling" is still used for Alex's audition.
  • In the film Nick convinces Alex to go to her audition, in the stage show her friends convince her and accompany her to the audition.

Musical Numbers[edit]

Source: Official Page[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Flashdance the Musical London theatre tickets and information". www.thisistheatre.com. Retrieved 2017-06-27. 
  2. ^ "Flashdance The Musical UK Tour 2017 – 2018". LondonTheatre1.com. 2016-11-21. Retrieved 2017-06-27. 
  3. ^ "Hold the Water! Flashdance — The Musical Will Not Arrive on Broadway This Summer | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-06-27. 
  4. ^ Limited, London Theatre Direct. "FLASHDANCE THE MUSICAL CASTING ANNOUNCED". Retrieved 2017-06-27. 
  5. ^ League, The Broadway. "Flashdance the Musical – Broadway Musical – Tour | IBDB". www.ibdb.com. Retrieved 2017-06-27. 
  6. ^ a b Nathan, John. " 'Flashdance' Musical to Make World Premiere in U.K. in July" Archived 2012-10-25 at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com, February 12, 2008
  7. ^ [1] londontheatredirect.com
  8. ^ "OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMOUNT: Flashdance The Musical Opens in West End Autumn 2010 – StageTalk.co.uk". stagetalk.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-06-27. 
  9. ^ "Flashdance: The Musical to Open on Broadway in August 2013". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2017-06-27. 
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-31. Retrieved 2012-02-04.  pittsburghlive.com
  11. ^ " 'Flashdance' National Tour Will Launch in Pittsburgh" pittsburgh.broadway.com, January 20, 2012
  12. ^ a b Hofler, Robert. Legit Review: ‘Flashdance the Musical’ Variety, May 13, 2013
  13. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/photo-call-a-first-look-at-flashdance-mdash-the-musical-on-tour-starring-emily-padgett-com-201242
  14. ^ "Le-Theatre". translate.google.com. Retrieved 2017-06-27. 
  15. ^ "Theater Chemnitz". translate.google.com. Retrieved 2017-06-27. 
  16. ^ "Meinbezirk". translate.google.com. Retrieved 2017-06-27. 
  17. ^ "Anja Hauptmann". anjahauptmann.com. Retrieved 2017-06-27. 
  18. ^ http://www.cognito.cz, Cognito.cz, s.r.o., see. "Flashdance | Městské divadlo Brno". www.mdb.cz. Retrieved 2017-06-27. 
  19. ^ FLASHDANCE THE MUSICAL Coming to Broadway in Fall 2012 
  20. ^ 'Flashdance' and 'War Horse' lead Broadway parade to Pittsburgh 
  21. ^ Flashdance — The Musical Will Arrive on Broadway in August 2013 
  22. ^ Hetrick, Adam and Jones, Kenneth. "Hold the Water! 'Flashdance — The Musica'l Will Not Arrive on Broadway This Summer" playbill.com, April 23, 2013
  23. ^ a b Thorkelson, ,Erika. "Review: Flashdance musical goes for substance, gets lost in film's clichés". www.vancouversun.com. Retrieved 2017-06-27. 
  24. ^ "Flashdance The Musical". London Theatre Guide. 2016-06-08. Retrieved 2017-06-27. 
  25. ^ "FLASHDANCE THE MUSICAL - Triple treat specialists pump out energy and exuberance". www.theatreview.org.nz. Retrieved 2017-06-27. 
  26. ^ Roth, Robbie. "Flashdance The Musical Official Page". Flashdance The Musical. 

External links[edit]