A1 singer onto another hit with Millennium Forum-bound Flashdance the Musical
As we continue to mine the '80s to satisfy our nostalgic needs, pop star Ben Adams promises 'everything and more' from a production that epitomises the colour and energy of the period
A showbiz personality took the Presidency, the Jamaican bobsled team qualified for the Winter Olympics and big brows were back as the 'in' beauty trend. Perhaps it's the striking similarities to our current climate which has us subconciously pining for the '80s – and that's before we even get to Stranger Things.
With its big hair and even bigger ballads, Oscar-winning film Flashdance is synonymous with pop culture of the period, and is set to fill our yearning when the musical adaptation hits the Millennium Forum this March.
The production sees Ben Adams, a familiar face to all teens of the noughties, make his musical theatre debut alongside Strictly Come Dancing's Joanne Clifton, with the pair's 'hotter than a welding iron' chemistry promising to thaw us from our wintry slumber.
Best known as lead singer of British-Norwegian pop group a1, Adams proves he's more than just a boyband beauty. As well as playing one of the lead characters in Flashdance, the singer, songwriter and producer has released a Number One classical album, is soon to release a solo album 1981 (there's that decade again) and has even written his own West End smash Eugenius! To say Adams is a busy man would be an understatement.
'I never take a day off, I can't remember the last time I had a day off,' he says. 'At the minute I'm doing five days of Flashdance and zipping back at to London at the weekends for Eugenius!'
After collaborating with the likes of Robin Thicke, Craig David and Alexandra Burke, the 36-year-old felt a change of pace was required and penned the hugely successful musical, it too littered with nods to the '80s. And like most great ideas it was conceived one drunken night in his local pub.
'I worked with some great artists and it was a joy to see someone else having fun with your creations but after a while it just became catering to an individual's specifications,' Adams explains. 'So after some reflection and a conversation over a few pints with a friend, Eugenius was born! It centres around a kid whose superhero story is picked up by Hollywood, however they turn it in to a B movie and chaos ensues. It's absolutely bonkers! I suppose you could say it was loosely autobigraphical.'
Nonetheless Adams was eager to get back on centre-stage himself and relished the opportunity to join the cast of Flashdance, produced by the award-winning team at Selladoor Productions which lists Footloose, Avenue Q and Little Shop of Horrors amongst the impressive history of shows its staged.
'I'm nearing a ripe old age in the world of showbiz and I felt that I had so much more left to give,' he says. 'I'd always been a fan of musical theatre and have turned down many offers over the years. But when Flashdance came along as did the opportunity to work with Joanne Clifton I jumped at the chance. I'm a massive lover of '80s music and the whole era really; the colours, the energy and of course Flashdance has become a genre in itself.'
Based on the 1983 classic starring Jennifer Beals and Michael Nouri, Flashdance epitomizes the American dream telling the story of 18 year-old Alex Owens, welder by day, 'flashdancer' by night, harbouring hopes of becoming a professional dancer.
'Flashdance is a classic that defines the spirit of the '80s and the musical has kept true to the film for the most part,' Adams assures. 'The movie's only an hour long so the story has been fleshed out quite a bit. Of course it has the iconic water-drop scene and all the big '80s hits like 'Maniac', 'I Love Rock 'n' Roll' and 'What a Feeling', but new characters have been added as have some great original songs. To put it simply, it has everything and more.'
Adams plays Nick Hurley, owner of the steelworks and love interest of the show's protagonist, who uses his connections in a misguided attempt to kick-start her career.
'Nick is a rich kid miles apart from Alex's world. His heart is in the right place but he does get a lot of things wrong. He's an interesting character to play, the role has been a challenging one. The whole experience is definitely different from touring in a boyband; it's incredibly fast-paced but lots of fun.
'The production team have done an amazing job from lighting to choreography,' Adams adds. 'The audience are up on their feet and singing along. My Twitter goes crazy after every performance so it's safe to safe to say it's a real crowd pleaser.'
So whether you're a steel town girl on a Saturday night or a Derry girl during the week, Flashdance the Musical promises to be a spectacle that'll have you dancing like you've never danced before.
Flashdance the Musical comes to the Millennium Forum, Derry~Londonderry from March 19-24. Tickets can be purchased online at www.millenniumforum.co.uk or through the Box Office by calling 028 7126 4455.