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Flashdance Debuts in Plymouth, Sweeney Shouts

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As previously tipped (See The Goss, 9 Aug 2007), impresario David Ian’s latest project – an adaptation of the blockbuster Eighties movie, Flashdance - will receive its world premiere this summer, launching a national tour at the Theatre Royal Plymouth on 19 July 2008. The new musicals follows other film crossovers from the era, including Dirty Dancing, Footloose, Fame and, less successfully, Desperately Seeking Susan.

The 1983 film of Flashdance starred Jennifer Beals as Alex Owens, a Pittsburgh welder and exotic dancer who dreams of winning a place at a prestigious dance school and becoming a professional ballet dancer. Along the way, she has a passionate affair with Nick, the rich boss of the steel mill where she works. The film featured the songs “Maniac” and “Flashdance… What a Feeling”, which won an Academy Award for Best Song – it also launched a fashion frenzy for torn sweatshirts.

Screenplay writer Tom Hedley, who was also responsible for coming up with the concept of the original story the film was based on, is attached to the stage version as a writer. He joins forces with Robert Cary, who has worked on other screen-to-stage musical adaptations of The Thomas Crown Affair and Heartbreakers, both of which were commissioned by MGM On Stage.

After opening in Plymouth, the tour will travel to Southampton, Wolverhampton, Aberdeen, Manchester, Edinburgh, Bradford, Sunderland, Eastbourne, Cardiff, Torquay and Oxford which takes the production into January 2009 – with further dates to be announced, and the possibility of a West End run if the production is a success on tour.

Flashdance is directed by Kenny Leon and choreographed by Arlene Phillips – the Strictly Come Dancing judge was in the running to choreograph the film and has also worked with Ian on Grease and the upcoming ITV series Britannia High - with designs by Paul Farnsworth and lighting is by Jason Taylor. The production is presented by Christopher Malcolm, David Ian and AEGON in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth and Paramount Pictures. Casting is yet to be announced.

In other musical touring news, Claire Sweeney and Su Pollard star in the new 1960s musical Shout!, which launches its first UK tour tonight (8 February 2008) at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley. Set in a hair-dressing salon, the audience are taken on a musical journey through Swinging Sixties London. Five gorgeous women and one lucky man will twist and shout, shimmy and shake while belting out hits from the era including “Downtown”, “Son of a Preacher Man”, “I Only Wanna Be With You”, “To Sir With Love” and “These Boots Are Made for Walking”.

Following Bromley, Shout! tours to Liverpool, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Norwich, Wimbledon, Glasgow, Manchester, Worthing, Stoke, Eastbourne, Birmingham, Bradford, Cornwall and Cheltenham. The production is directed and choreographed by Whatsonstage.com Award Nominee Bill Deamer and adapted by Julie Balloo. It’s produced by Mark Goucher, Michael Harrison, Victoria Lang, Mark Schwartz, Wimpole and Churchill Theatres.

- by Tom Atkins


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