FLASHDANCE THE MUSICAL
21/04/2016 - 27/04/2016
Flashdance – The Musical
* The Civic, Auckland * From April 21
With electrifying dance at its core, FLASHDANCE – THE MUSICAL tells the inspiring and unforgettable story of Alex Owens, a Pittsburgh steel mill welder by day and a club dancer by night with dreams of one day becoming a professional dancer.
When romance with her steel mill boss threatens to complicate her ambitions, Alex learns the meaning of love and its power to fuel the pursuit of her dream
The original 1983 Paramount Pictures film was a worldwide smash hit that became a pop culture phenomenon, grossing more than $US150 million and featuring a Grammy Award-winning soundtrack including many of the biggest hits of the 1980s – the Academy Award-winning title song Flashdance – What a Feeling, Maniac, Gloria, Manhunt and I Love Rock & Roll.
Julia believes that Alex’s story is as relevant for young women today as it was for women in the 1980’s. “Even though we tried to really stay true to the 80s and what the film brought to the big screen 30 years ago, the story of somebody chasing his or her dream will never be outdated, because no matter who you are or where you come from, every one of us has goals that we wish to achieve. And we should never stop chasing that dream.”
FLASHDANCE – THE MUSICAL is at The Civic, Auckland from Thursday 21 April. Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster 0800 111 999 www.ticketmaster.co.nz
“An astonishing musical spectacle,” – Atlanta Journal Constitution
New York dancer and actor Julia Macchio will play the lead role of Alex Owens in FLASHDANCE – THE MUSICA Lin Auckland next month.
Julia (24) has been playing the role on the show’s United States and Canada tours for the past six months and leads the all-American cast in the show on stage in The Civic from Thursday 21 April.
“When I was offered the role of Alex, it just felt meant to be,” Julia says. “I was at a point in my life that made me feel extremely connected to this character – her independence, her drive, her wanting to work for her own success. I hope I get to inspire others through my performance the way Alex has inspired me.”
Julia trained in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical, and hip hop for 14 years at Long Island Academy of Dance and is a Hofstra University graduate with a BA in Dance.
She is the daughter of well-known 1980’s actor Ralph Macchio, best known for the lead role in the Karate Kid movies as well as starring roles in The Outsiders, Crossroads and My Cousin Vinny.
“My Dad has had a huge influence on my career as an amazing role model. He has always encouraged me to keep a good head on my shoulders, to be respectful, and to work hard. He has always supported the fact that I want to have my own career and earn opportunities myself. In fact, he encouraged it. But he gives the smartest advice and I’m blessed to have him by my side.
“Mom and Dad, and my brother have seen our show multiple times and encouraged me to find the joy in every single performance.”
Cast - see http://www.flashdancethemusical.com/cast
Creative team - http://www.flashdancethemusical.com/creative-team
Theatre , Rock Opera , Musical , Dance ,
It’s not the fun kind of bad
Review by Janet McAllister 25th Apr 2016
The final number – even if the costume owes more to Jennifer Lopez than Jennifer Beals – is great. Julia Macchio can dance.
But this revelation comes as a relief and surprise after the preceding two-and-a-half hours: it is hard to know which is more ironic – the bad-dance first half or the no-dance second half. Either way, this is Crashdance. [More]
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Review by James Wenley 22nd Apr 2016
It would seem like a no brainer to turn Flashdance into a stage musical. Nostalgia is a powerful seller, and many an 80’s kid rewound their VHS copies to oblivion. The 1983 film is told with the logic of a musical, with just enough dialogue to get us to the next MTV-like dance montage.
The film, for all its sex appeal and collarless sweatshirts, is incredibly thin on plot. It’s not even 90 minutes before the credits roll. Alex (Julia Macchio) holds down two jobs – welder and night-club dancer – and longs to audition for the Shipley Dance academy. After not very many twists and turns (well, narrative wise anyway, her dance routines are another matter), she gets her chance. Cue leg-warmers, cue What a Feeling.
So to get a two-act musical out of the property, writers Tom Hedley (who wrote the original screenplay) and Robert Cary, have made more of the economic destitution of the Pittsburgh town. [More]
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Triple treat specialists pump out energy and exuberance
Review by Jenny Stevenson 22nd Apr 2016
What a feeling! – nostalgia abounds and the ‘80s vibe is alive and well in Auckland’s Civic Theatre with Flashdance the Musical performed by an all-American cast who have just finished touring the US. Directed and choreographed by Paul Stancato, with a Book by Executive Producer, Tom Hedley (who also wrote the original screenplay for the movie), the work features the original film songs, plus some new ones by composer Robbie Roth with Robert Cary. The Musical Director is Brent McGee.
Mr Stancato as both choreographer and director creates a mostly fast-moving production except for the middle of the second act when the pace seems to be somewhat scaled down. Without the benefits of cinematic close-ups or live music, the work relies on the exuberance of the cast to project their energy outwards and it is this that is the real strength of the work. The company never flags in their commitment and professionalism, showcasing their strengths as singers who can also dance and act.
The dance numbers, as arranged by Jim Abbott feature a lot of raunchy strutting and posing in the club/bar sequences and some balletic enchainment and barre work that the dancers only just pull off. But it is the joyful jazz dance and street dance routines at the heart of the work that resonate most strongly, creating an infectious feel-good atmosphere. There is some fine old-school hip hop and breaking, taking the forms back to basics.
Tiny Julia Macchio who plays Alex is a powerhouse of energy and a strong singer-dancer, who performs throughout most of the two hour-plus show. Her portrayal of Alex is staunch, masking a touching vulnerability with flippant street-wise sarcasm. Despite her youth she is fully at ease when dancing the ‘80s dance moves, managing to vest them with contemporary cool. Her voice is powerful and confidently placed and her performance of the final number What a Feeling is the vibrant highlight of the show.
Ryan Neal Green is equally impressive as Nick with an endearing, shy persona, who becomes emboldened through his love of Alex. His voice appears to develop, becoming stronger as his assurance grows, while his stance becomes more firmly planted on the ground. The song Justice which he performs with the male ensemble is also a spirited highlight.
Hannah McDonald gives a nuanced performance as Gloria, the sassy showgirl who is trying to hit the big time but who, in her naivety takes the wrong path, before being rescued by Alex and Gloria’s erstwhile boyfriend, the wanna-be comic Jimmy. Played by Nic Casaula, Jimmy is one of the stronger singers in the ensemble and provides an interesting sub-plot to the story line.
David Zimmerman as Harry the bar-owner with a heart-of-gold avoids any cliché in his performance and Tracy Bidleman as Hannah, Alex’s mentor, is an engaging presence. There are also two strong solos by Alex’s fellow club dancers Kiki, played by Tanisha Moor and Tess by Dana Hunter.
The audience was with the cast every step of the way and I saw dancing in the car-park as I left. The show provides much to enjoy, even if you weren’t already aware of the iconic Flashdance film.
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Exciting choreography and one star turn stand out
Review by Penny Dodd 22nd Apr 2016
If you want to see a talented cast of ‘triple threats’ in action then Flashdance the musical is the show for you. Don’t expect too much of the book or the characterisations, this is a dance musical in music video style.
Existing songs such as ‘Flashdance – What a Feeling’ (from the movie), ‘Maniac’, ‘Gloria’, ‘Manhunt ‘and ‘I Love Rock’n’Roll’ sit next to original songs purpose-written for the show by Robbie Roth and Robert Cary. You get an episodic quality where the plot works its way through, hitting its marks, and offering great opportunities for a series of production numbers, featuring powerhouse vocals and dance from ballet to breakdance.
The cast is led by Julia Macchio as Alex Owens, an energetic, full on belter with the acting and dance ability to match. Alex “is a Pittsburgh steel mill welder by day, and a club dancer by night with dreams of one day becoming a professional performer”. She appears at the beginning of the piece as one of the boys, dancing alongside the other welders, projecting a feisty yet sympathetic personality.
After initially rejecting him, she falls in love with the mill owner’s son, played by Ryan Neal Green, and eventually auditions for the dance school of her dreams, winning a place through her own persistence and originality.
Macchio never falters: she is the heart of the piece, and delivers with great warmth and great skill. Green seems a little uncomfortable in the role of Nick Hurley, and there is not enough chemistry between the leads for their romance to really fire.
The Gloria and Jimmy subplot works well, with strong performances by Hannah K MacDonald and Nic Casaula. McDonald’s heartfelt singing and character acting are matched in the second act club scene with some terrific dancing. Casaula, as the boy who didn’t make it in New York, brings real poignancy to the role.
The hard working ensemble cover everything from vocals to acting to the extensive and effective choreography by director Paul Stancato.
The show is paced well, moving from scene to dance seamlessly, with the aid of keyboard underscoring. The music backing appears to be mysterious, with a mention of a musical director, Brent McGee, and an acknowledgement to the wings in the bows.
It sounds as if there is a live keyboard/MD (underscore) with the big numbers pre-produced. You can hear guitars, keys, bass and drums. A pity it isn’t live and visible, or more richly scored; this would contribute to a vital energetic underpinning that is missing in the first half. The second half sees an improved sound balance, and an improvement in energy.
The set is metallic, rough and raw, representing the Steeltown of Pittsburgh with exposed grid lighting, and metal trusses in view. Other locations are brought on, with tables, lamps, couches etc. Projections aid in the establishment of the nightclubs and atmospheres.
Key moments from the movie – the chair dance, and the roses – are honoured, as is the gritty setting and the triumph of the characters over their situations. The standout for me is the dancing – exciting choreography! – and a star turn from Julia Macchio.
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