By Tara Bennett
If golden oldies like “Maniac,” “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and, of course, “Flashdance… What a Feeling” get your feet moving, there’s a show heading to Baton Rouge ready to scoop you up in a wave of 80s nostalgia.
Those songs played an integral role in the 1983 Paramount Pictures release “Flashdance,” about a young woman named Alex who worked as a welder in Pittsburgh, but dreamed of becoming a professional dancer.
Three decades later comes “Flashdance, The Musical,” complete with the famous water-dousing dance scene that set many hearts racing in theaters.
“It has all the classic hits…,” said actor Danielle Gonzalez. “The water scene is a huge part of the show and it’s definitely worth it to come see it because it’s just amazing every night how it happens.”
The tour officially started last October in Bossier Idaho, and ran for two months before taking a two-month holiday break. The tour re-opens this month and will visit 36 cities by the end of April. “Flashdance” is one more in a long line of movies-turned-into-stage-shows, and the River City will be hosting it for a one night only performance on Thursday, Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased online via ticketmaster.com.
Gonzalez, who plays Tess, describes her character as the eldest and most wizened of the dancers who vie for a spot in the dance company in “Flashdance.”
“She’s very sassy,” said Gonzalez. “She’s been through a lot in her life. She’s been heartbroken and she’s had to deal with real life situations. She’s a little jaded, but very wise too and she looks out for the other girls because she’s been there too.”
Gonzalez says she is happy doing “Flashdance” because of her character’s sassy nature, which allows her to play off of her cast mates. According to Gonzalez, her character is a little more developed in the musical by having more interaction in the show, and even has her own number “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Along with that, Gonzalez loves the glamour that comes with the role of Tess.
“The costumes are fantastic, I love every single one of my costumes I wear onstage,” said Gonzalez. “They’re all fabulous. Getting to be a rock star every night is pretty damn cool.”
Gonzalez grew up in New York and studied drama at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School (coincidentally the same school that inspired the movie Fame). After graduation, she went to the American Musical Dramatic Academy where she studied musical theatre. After that, she auditioned for “Rock of Ages” and won a dancing role in the national tour. She was also in “9 to 5” before being cast in “Flashdance.”
“It’s definitely a plus that I had a credit of a national tour on my resume and also that it was in the same field because ‘Rock of Ages’ is all 80’s music and ‘Flashdance’ is based in the 80’s,” said Gonzalez. “I don’t know if that gave me an advantage, but it definitely helped me out a little bit.”
With the extent of dancing, singing and other theatrical elements involved, the training and rehearsal process for the cast was intense. However, Gonzalez believes you do not have to be a dancer to feel the heart of the show.
“The show is very relatable to everybody in their everyday struggle because it’s fighting for something you believe in,” said Gonzalez.