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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Flashdance: The Musical’ takes stage at Centennial Hall


    Courtesy of Chad Bremerman

    Heidi Friese as Gloria (left) and Jacob Tischler as Jimmy (right) in the national tour of “Flashdance: The Musical.” Based on the 1983 film starring Jennifer Beals, the touring musical will be playing at Centennial Hall until Sunday.

    “Flashdance: The Musical” has come to Arizona as part of its national tour and opens tonight in Centennial Hall with music, dancing and an inspiring story.

    An adaptation of the wildly popular 1983 film, “Flashdance: The Musical” is the story of Alex Owens, a Pittsburgh steel mill welder by day and bar dancer by night. While trying to fulfill her dream of becoming a professional dancer, she struggles with conflict, finds romance and develops meaningful friendships — all of which help her on her journey.

    The timeless story was a hit when it first premiered as a film about 30 years ago, earning over $90 million in the U.S. box office alone. Two songs from the film, “Flashdance… What a Feeling” and “Maniac,” reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 music list in 1983, and the soundtrack was also No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. The iconic water dance scene has been referenced countless times in pop culture since the movie was released, and “Flashdance” has become a film nostalgic parents and teenagers can enjoy together.

    The musical essentially tells the same story, but in a very different way. Not only are there 16 new songs, but there are added scenes that allow for more story development and audience insights.

    “They were able to take the characters deeper, and you get to know them more than you would from the film,” said Heidi Friese, who plays Gloria, the main character’s best friend. A graduate of Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Friese has been involved in theater since she was a child.

    “My favorite part is the joy and the escape that you offer as a performer to the audience members,” Friese said. The North American tour began Jan. 1, 2013, but the current cast and crew of the musical have been touring since mid-October and will continue to do so until April. Despite the fun of being part of the production, touring can prove to be exhausting.

    Before coming to Tucson, the cast performed in Texas on Sunday, allowing only two days for the cast and crew to travel and get ready for their opening performance tonight.

    Although stressful at times, the production of the musical is something Friese said she enjoys; one of her favorite moments on set came during a technical rehearsal of the water dance scene. After practicing the scene for weeks without actually adding the water, each cast and crew member was called to watch the first test of the completed scene.

    “Every single cast member had their phones out recording it, and everyone was just screaming because it was so exciting,” Friese said. “Still, to this day, the whole cast is in the wings every night watching the water dance.”

    Everyone involved in the production has been given the opportunity to breathe new life into an iconic piece of ’80s pop culture. Audience members — from people who saw the film in theatres in their youth to teens experiencing it for the first time — are guaranteed to enjoy the play and be inspired by the story it tells.

    There will be seven shows of “Flashdance: The Musical” at Centennial Hall between today and Sunday. Ticket prices range from $25 to $75 and are available at the Centennial Hall Ticket Office or online at


    Follow Victoria Pereira on Twitter.

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