Flashdance was one of the 1980s most iconic romantic films. It influenced a host of similar musical dramas in the disco decade, and then in 2008 Flashdance The Musical brought the story to the stage.
Now, Huddersfield’s Woodhouse Musical Theatre Company is producing the show at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, offering audiences the chance to enjoy the thrilling dance sequences and well-loved songs that made the original Flashdance such a box office success.
Dave Lockwood, who is directing, says it will be a first for the company. “It’s never been done in Huddersfield before by a senior amateur operatic society,” he added. “It’s something different, very lively and with a good storyline. Flashdance is not performed that often because it’s difficult to stage and you need somebody who is quite outstanding to play the lead.”
Woodhouse believes it has found that ‘outstanding’ lead in the shape of teenage dancer Zoe Cooke, who will celebrate her 18th birthday during the run of the show (from March 15 to 19).
Dave explains: “Zoe came along with her friend last year to audition to be a dancer. We were blown away by her talent. She had a part in last year’s musical Buddy and is a real surprise find by the society. Woodhouse prides itself on giving youngsters a chance.”
Zoe, a student at New College in Huddersfield, is playing the role of Alex Owens, an 18-year-old steel mill worker from Pittsburgh who has aspirations to attend a prestigious dance academy.
The part will be extraordinarily demanding, says Dave. “She has an enormous amount of singing, dialogue and dancing and quick changes in between scenes,” he added.
Flashdance, first screened in 1983, was initially panned by cinema critics but went on to become one of the highest grossing movies of the decade. It spawned a number of hit songs that have stood the test of time - from Flashdance...What a Feeling by Irene Cara, which was written for the film, to other gems such as Gloria and Maniac. The character of Alex was played by Jennifer Beals.
The Woodhouse production will also feature semi-professional singer Craig Squance as Nick Hurley - Alex’s love interest - as well as one of the society’s most experienced members, Sonia Noble, as Alex’s mother Hannah. This is a show top-heavy with leading roles for women and Alex’s three girlfriends Gloria, Jazmin and Keisha are played, respectively, by Vicky Marley, Becky White and Angie Gerald. Joe Medlock, new to the society, takes on the role of Gloria’s cousin Jimmy, and Adrian Russell is nightclub owner Dr Kool.
Flashdance tells the story of a young girl who works as a welder by day and is a nightclub exotic dancer by night, but dreams of better things. As with all musical theatre she has a somewhat tangled love life but true romance wins in the end. The musical version differs from the film but still offers spectacular dancing sequences and the well-known songs, alongside new numbers written especially for the show.
The Woodhouse production is choreographed by Cathy Peters and Mark Breen is the musical director.
Tickets for the show, which has a matinee on Saturday, March 19, are £14 and £10 from www.thelbt.org.uk or 01484 430528.