Sydney Morton dances like she’s never danced before in ‘Flashdance’

It’s Sydney Morton’s turn in the spotlight as Alex Owens.

There are moments in film that will be forever immortalized in the minds and collective subconscious of society: Marlon Brando shouting for “Stella,” Forrest Gump’s unpredictable box of chocolates. When it comes to iconic ’80s dance flicks, though, one that inevitably comes to mind is “Flashdance.”

“Flashdance” is the story of Alex Owens, originated by Jennifer Beals in legwarmers in 1983. As the song “Maniac” goes, she’s “a small town girl” who works at a steel mill by day and dances in a cabaret by night but dreams of joining the ballet. With persistence, panache and a good deal of dance montage, Alex sashays her way through life to a very important audition. The rest, as they say, is history. Until now.

Meet Sydney Morton, the striking dancer and actress who portrays Alex in the new stage adaptation of the film, currently on tour in the US. With credits that include Broadway’s “Memphis,” “Evita” and “Motown,” Morton was tasked with bringing a well-known character to life, live, night after night.

How do you prepare for a show like this? Do you watch the film repeatedly to get it down?

I try to stay away from watching source material too much with a role like this. While Alex Owens is iconic, she isn’t a real historical figure, so there is a little more freedom for interpretation. … I approached this role by trying to understand who she is, finding myself in her and letting my performance grow into someone who feels real through rehearsals.

Is preparation for this particular role any different from previous roles you’ve had?

This is one of the most difficult roles I have ever performed, let alone seen on a stage before. I not only dance my heart out eight times a week but I also perform numerous songs, fight choreography and scenes with my fellow actors. I have been dancing since I was a little girl and taking vocal lessons since I was a teenager. I also went to school to earn a degree in musical theatre. I’m not sure I could have done this role without all of that preparation. In addition, I have had almost two months of rehearsing and conditioning for the show itself, in order to build my stamina and get comfortable in the role.

What are some of the challenges of translating such a well-known to the stage?

Many images from this movie are so iconic, so it is definitely our responsibility to bring them in the show. But our show is also different in many ways: there are many new songs in addition to five songs from the movie. The characters in the stage show are more fleshed-out than in the movie, especially the supporting characters and their stories. As a result, I feel like the audience is both getting their nostalgic fix while experiencing something new.

Were you familiar with the film before landing this role?

I was definitely familiar with the movie and music. … I always felt like Jennifer Beals looked like a “grown-up” version of me, so I sort of idolized her in the role. I wanted to be a ballet dancer − basically, the whole movie spoke to me.

And the water scene?

Ahh, the water scene. Of course, when I first got the job, this was the first thing everyone asked me about. I got to rehearse the choreography without the water in a studio for weeks, but I actually only got to rehearse it one time with the water before my first performance. We use five gallons of water total throughout the whole dance, not just the final moment. It is a totally exhilarating experience. The water is heated, thank goodness, and I know that every time I do it, the audience is loving it. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

 

“Flashdance: The Musical”
Through March 23
Citi Emerson Colonial Theater
106 Boylston St., Boston
$34-$124, 866-348-9738
www.citicenter.org



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…