Meeting 'Flashdance - The Musical' Cast
Click thru to see photos from the performance.Photo: Image by Wharton Center Media
Oh what a feeling! In its 30th anniversary year, the film lives again with Flashdance - The Musical, on-stage. Go back in time to a night of 80s fun, dance, and laughs, and see Flashdance - The Musical, playing at the Wharton Center through October 13th, 2013.
The cast is what makes the show shine, and Jillian Mueller is no exception. This triple threat, singer, dancer and actress, brings life and energy to her role as Alex Owens. Accompanying Mueller on stage, is Corey Mach, who plays the role of pretty rich boy Nick Hurley. The dynamic between Mueller and Mach is undeniable.
We had a chance to sit down with Mueller and Mach to talk to them about their lives and the tour.
Stephanie Pohl: What came first for you growing up, was it dancing or singing?
Jillian Mueller: It was dance. When I was three, I wanted to take dance, so my parents signed me up to take classes at our local dance studio. Through dance, I discovered that I wanted to act. My parents told me I had to wait until I was six-years-old because I needed to learn how to read first (she laughs). When I turned six-years-old, they then signed me up for acting classes. And when I turned eight-years-old, I began singing lessons. It was dancing, acting, then singing. I always knew that it was what I wanted to do because I had a natural love for all three of those things.
Corey Mach: Piano was the first thing I learned how to do at the age of three-years-old. Piano led to theater classes, which led to voice lessons, which led to dance lessons. It was a step by step process for me. I kept with dance, but singing and acting are my strong suits.
SP: How did you prepare for your roles?
JM: The biggest thing for me was building up my stamina because I have to dance and belt out songs at the same time. Before rehearsals started, I was in "boot camp" and going to the gym for six hours. I would take lots of pilates classes and run on the treadmill while singing. When rehearsals began, we were dancing and singing for eight hours, so it was good to have that base. It is a learning process on how to have create a balance between having enough stamina and breath to complete the dance numbers, while belting out songs simultaneously.
CM: I go to the gym pretty much everyday because I don't do much dancing in the show. But vocally, I am still getting in the groove of finding where to be strong and where to relax. It is a learning process on how to pace yourself.
SP: What is your familiarity with Flashdance the movie in comparison to the show?
JM: One Christmas I got a whole bunch of movies--Flashdance, Moulin Rouge and Center Stage--I became obsessed with dance. I loved Flashdance the movie because it was about her wanting to be a dancer and that is what I wanted to do. But, I haven't watched the movie since I started the show. I wanted to honor certain iconic moments that Jennifer Beal did in the movie, and didn't want to copy her performance.
CM: I grew up knowing about Flashdance, Dirty Dancing and Footloose. I think I only saw Dirty Dancing, but they all seem to blend together. Honestly, I have never seen Flashdance, but I heard that the musical was very different than the movie and I didn't want to be influenced by the way the role was portrayed on film as opposed to how it should be portrayed in the musical.
SP: What is the dynamic like between cast members--leads and ensemble alike?
JM: This is my first lead part. In a lot of shows that I have done in the past, there always seems to be some sort of a separation between the leads and the ensemble. With this show, I do not feel like that at all. It is a team effort and everyone is working so hard. We work together, live together and go out together.
CM: There is not a sore egg in the group and we spend so much time together. This is the kind of cast that you hope to get when you do a national tour. Because when you leave your home and your friends and are thrust into an environment with a selected group of people, you pray that you get along because ultimately, you don't have anyone else.
SP: Are you planning on doing anything local while you are in East Lansing?
CM: We are already planning on going apple picking at Uncle John's Cider Mill. We are also going to do laser tag and maybe a little bit of kayaking.
SP: Do you feel as if audience reactions vary among cities?
JM: Every night, as actors, you want energy from the audience. Our opening night in Chicago, everyone in the cast was blown away by the audience. We were able to really feed off of their energy and make it a great show.
CM: I don't know what it is about East Lansing, but last night the audience was vibrant and loud. Because of that it was my favorite audience. Musicals are about the relationship between audience and the performers, and if each aren't giving fifty-percent, the show suffers.
For more details and ticket information, visit www.whartoncenter.com.