Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Stars Add to Local Roots of 'Flashdance'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Stars Add to Local Roots of 'Flashdance'

Article excerpt

Thirty years after the film "Flashdance" had us dancing to chart- topping songs such as "What a Feeling" and "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," the '80s are coming back, this time in the form of "Flashdance -- The Musical." The world-premiere national tour launches New Year's Day in Pittsburgh, where the movie was filmed, and a second company heads to Broadway next year.

With much fanfare, including a proclamation from Pittsburgh Mayor Ravenstahl that Jan. 1 is Flashdance Day, the tour's three stars were revealed Friday at Heinz Hall: Pittsburghers Matthew Hydzik as leading man Nick and Rachelle Rak as sassy Tess, along with Emily Padgett as Alex Owens, the blue-collar worker with dreams of being taken seriously as a dancer.

The trio performed four numbers at a morning press conference at Heinz Hall, the Cultural District venue for the show, which is part of the PNC Broadway Across America -- Pittsburgh series.

Sergio Trujillo, the choreographer of Tony winners "Jersey Boys" and "Memphis," makes his directorial debut. He said the 1983 movie inspired him to leave his studies as a biochemist and become a dancer. He also recalled how he had come to Pittsburgh as part of a tour of "Kiss of the Spider-Woman."

"I remember coming in for the first time and I was awed by the bridges and the charm of the streets," he said as images of sets influenced by the cityscape were displayed on a television screen.

The film soundtrack featuring "Flashdance -- What a Feeling," "Maniac," "Gloria" and "Manhunt" won a Grammy and featured a handful of radio hits. The new musical, not to be confused with the "Flashdance" that toured in the United Kingdom a few years back, includes those tunes and 14 new songs with music by Robbie Roth, lyrics by Robert Cary and Mr. Roth. The book is by Tom Hedley, a co- writer of the screenplay whose original concept for "Flashdance" was for the stage -- "Before Hollywood got a hold of it," Mr. Trujillo said.

Ms. Rak and Mr. Hydzik, working together for the first time, each brought family members to the press conference. Ms. Rak posed for cameras with her mother, Rosalene, of the Rosalene Kenneth Professional Dance Studio, and Mr. …

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