Entertainment » Theatre

The Boys of ’Flashdance’

by Tony Reyerditto
Saturday May 4, 2013

When I think of the movie "Flashdance," it conjures up images of sexy dancing, bright shiny leggings with leg warmers, flashy over-the-shoulder tops, tight pants, big hair, heels, and bright red lipstick-and a very well-placed bucket of water. The hit film was to the '80s what Saturday Night Fever was to the '70s. And now in 2013, "Flashdance-The Musical" is one of the most anticipated adaptations of the season, taking its first national tour with a 12-date stop at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, the original 1983 Paramount film was a worldwide smash-hit, a pop culture phenomenon, featured a Grammy Award-winning soundtrack and grossed more than $150 million at the box office. It seems only fitting, with so many film-to-stage adaptations, that Flashdance would be next in line. The tour and Broadway debut coincide, featuring Top Ten hits from the movie, "Maniac," "Gloria," "Manhunt, "I Love Rock & Roll" and the Academy Award-winning title song "Flashdance-What a Feeling." In addition to these classic hits, 16 new songs have been composed and written by Robbie Roth and Robert Cary. The show features director and choreographer Sergio Trujillo ("Jersey Boys," "Memphis" and "The Addams Family"), with a book penned for the stage by Robert Cary and Tom Hedley (co-writers of the original screenplay with Joe Eszterhas).

The show is filled with romance and electrifying dance at its core. It tells the inspiring story of Alex Owens, its talented and driven heroine. A steel mill working girl from Pittsburgh, she's a welder by day and bar entertainer by night, with dreams of one day becoming a professional dancer. When romance with her steel mill boss threatens to complicate her ambitions, she conquers the obstacles, learning the meaning of real love and the power it embodies to fuel the pursuit of her dreams.

Up and coming triple-threats Jakob Karr and Dan Kohler were cast in the touring production of "Flashdance." They were kind enough to share their perspectives on what they love about the show and their touring experiences.


Jakob Karr is in the ensemble and is the understudy for the ballet dancer. He was catapulted into the public's eye when he became the second runner up on season six of the highly competitive, "So You Think You Can Dance." Other productions include "Cirque du Soleil's Viva Elvis" in Las Vegas, Rasta Thomas in "Rock the Ballet" playing throughout Australia, Germany, France, Spain, India, Russia, Portugal, Monaco and Japan. His formal training was at The Ailey School at Fordham University.

Hello Jakob, thanks for taking time out of your crazy schedule to answer a few questions about your Flashdance experience. Where are you from originally and where do you now call home?

I was born and raised in a small town called Windermere, which is a suburb of Orlando, Florida. I now live in New York fulltime when I'm not on the road.

You did an incredible job on "So You Think You Can Dance," how has that affected your career?

"So You Think You Can Dance" definitely had a huge impact on my life and career. I was very fortunate to gain many wonderful friends and connections that I made during my time on the show.

How did you get into the cast of the touring company of Flashdance?

I went through multiple callbacks for Flashdance and was lucky enough to be cast alongside some of the most brilliant performers I have ever seen on stage.

Which number in the show do you consider the most outstanding and why?

I think every number in the show is outstanding. The voices of the leads, paired with the dancing of the ensemble really create an incredible night of live-action theater.

Why do you think this story from the '80s remains popular?

I think this story is truly timeless. It's a story of struggle and growth-a story of overcoming obstacles; everyone can relate to it in some way.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

Hopefully in the future you'll see me on stage for years to come! I love this business and have no intentions of leaving it any time soon!


Fellow cast member Dan Kohler plays Andy in the ensemble and understudies Nick, Harry and Jimmy. He has been part of the Blue Man Group and has toured to New York, Berlin and Las Vegas. Kohler has starred in "Godspell" as Jesus, "Legally Blonde" as Emmett and "Les Enfants de Paris" as Claude Frollo. His television appearances include "Law and Order: SVU" and he truly thinks outside of the icebox as chef and host of his own cooking show "Renegade Kitchen," which can be followed @renegadekitchen on Twitter, or viewed on renegadekitchen.com.

Where are you from originally and where do you now
call home?

I grew up in Boulder, Colorado and now live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

In my reading about you I found this quote,"Poppy taught you how to sing on your staircase." Can you elaborate on that?

When I was little, my grandfather used to sit with me at the top of our slate blue, carpeted staircase and we'd write songs together. Once I started a career in theatre he made sure I never forgot where it all began.

Anyone who has seen the Blue Man Group knows the show is phenomenal. Can you tell us about that experience?

Blue Man Group is improvisational at its heart. Every night the show is different, for us and for the audience. It was the most challenging job I've ever had, and to this day impacts how I perform.

How did you get into the cast of the touring company of Flashdance?

I went to the open call; I always tell other actor friends (particularly those starting out in the business) that going to open calls is important, even when you have an agent. I was called back from that first audition and then after four more rounds, booked the job.

Why do you think this story from the '80s remains popular?

The movie is iconic because it brought a music video aesthetic to the cinema; it captured the style of the moment for an entire generation.

Which number in the show do you consider the most outstanding and why?

I love the opening of the show; we travel (literally and figuratively) quite far, from ballet to street dance, to a steel mill. It's quite spectacular.

What would you like to see happen with your career next?

I host renegadekitchen.com, which is a collection of recipes, stories and cooking videos; I'd love to step into live television. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the role I love playing most is myself. I'm an entertainer at heart; this is the world I dream of!

"Flashdance, The Musical" runs Tuesday, May 7 to Sunday, May 19 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. For tickets and more information call 714.556.2787 or go to scfta.org

Copyright Rage Monthly. For more articles from Rage visit www.ragemonthly.com


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