A lot has changed since the ‘80s. Styles have come and gone, come back again and fallen out of favor for a second time. In the 1980s we saw people wear legwarmers, cut up sweatshirts and bangs that were two stories high. While today we may look back at some of these crazy trends and ask “What was I thinking?,” a little piece of us yearns for what the ‘80s meant—loud colors and loud music that were all part of a spirit and desire so loud you’d think the dial was turned up to 11. That is what Flashdance the Musical, making its Minnesota debut at our Orpheum Theatre April 2-7, is all about—a young woman’s desire to achieve her dream of becoming a professional dancer. You probably remember the 1983 movie starring Jennifer Beals, but now that Flashdance is back as a live stage production it made us wonder: how has it changed over the past 30 years? Here are the three most memorable aspects of Flashdance and how they have been updated for the stage:
1. Music and Dancing: Perhaps the most memorable part of the movie Flashdance is the music. With hits that captured the ‘80s like “Maniac,” “Gloria,” “I Love Rock and Roll,” and the Academy Award-winning “Flashdance… What a Feeling,” music was the backbone of the story and translates beautifully to the stage. While you will see many of the classics from the movie performed, you will also enjoy 16 new musical numbers written for the stage production. Director Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys, Memphis) said Robbie Roth (music and lyrics) found a way to “meld the [new] songs and the familiar songs into a cohesive score.” The music and costumes work together to immerse you in the energy of the ‘80s, but the dance choreography makes the audience acknowledge that what they are seeing is happening right now, right in front of their eyes. With styles like modern dance and break dancing, you will see Flashdance in a whole new light. The style, fashion, hair, music and dance all work together to keep the stage version authentic.
2. Jennifer Beals as Alex Owens: Finding a new actress to play Alex Owens must have been no easy challenge—Jennifer Beals was so identified with the role that, to use a cliché, every guy wanted her and every girl wanted to be her. Flashdance the Musical features Alex being played by Emily Padgett, whose Broadway credits include Rock of Ages, Legally Blonde and Grease. Padgett has also appeared on TV shows including “Louie,” “America’s Got Talent” and “Shall We Dance on Ice.” She says, “I never in a million years thought I would be playing this role in Flashdance.” Padgett has her work cut out for her, performing 14 musical numbers with different styles of dance and she’s also the main focus of the story between songs. Luckily for Flashdance fans she is an experienced actress and “thrilled to bring this iconic character to the stage.” Matthew Hydzik, who plays Alex’s love interest Nick, said of Padgett, “she does eight back-breaking shows while singing her face off,” and continued to say, “it’s an amazing thing to watch these extremely talented people work at such a high level.” Padgett will give old and new fans a chance to fall in love with Alex all over again.
3. The Water Scene: Trujillo’s goal for Flashdance the Musical was to keep the same story without doing a re-telling of the movie. However, he felt there were scenes that were “iconic” and had to be included such as the famous water scene. Fans of the movie can expect to see this scene re-created in a more elaborate way than they might have imagined. We all remember Alex pulling a chain and having a bucket of water poured on her, but on stage there is no bucket at all. In fact, when Alex pulls the chain on stage it is just for show, the water is triggered by a special effects team off stage who controls the water that is poured along with water that comes out of stage as a part of a larger, more intricate musical number that has to be seen to be believed.
Flashdance the Musical will debut in Minnesota at our Orpheum Theatre April 2-7 as a part of a national tour before going on Broadway. For a chance to relive the ‘80s or to experience them for the first time, visit our website for ticket information.