19-year-old Jillian Mueller who plays Alex, the starring role in “Flashdance the Musical,” opening Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Clowes Memorial Hall, on the campus of Butler University, said that she totally identifies with her character.
Chatting with ventwing.com by phone from Memphis, Tenn., where the touring company was playing prior to its Indianapolis engagement, Mueller said “’Flashdance the Musical’ is about this girl who has a dream to dance and she is just kind of very middle class. I‘m just this kid from Jersey that really loves singing and dancing. I feel fortunate that I got cast in this part which is a dream role and that is what the whole show is about. It’s about a girl with a dream that becomes true. Spoiler alert! (laughs) This girl is also very independent and self-made and has to work hard to get where she is. I very much relate to that.”
Based on the 1983 musical film, “Flashdance” —“Flashdance the Musical” tells the story of Alex Owens, a Pittsburgh steel mill welder by day and an exotic dancer by night who dreams of one day becoming a professional performer. When romance with her boss threatens to complicate things, Alex learns how love can drive the pursuit of her dream.
Mueller, a native of Marlboro, N.J., was last seen in the first national tours of “Memphis” and “American Idiot.” She also appeared on Broadway in “Bye Bye Birdie, “and in two holiday seasons of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” On television she appeared in “A Gifted Man (CBS)”.
“I had my professional debut when I was 12. I started performing in community theater and local stuff when I was seven years old, but I have working professionally for seven years now.” said Mueller who believes in the power of positive thinking and overcoming obstacles much like the character she plays. “I auditioned to be a part of this show’s ensemble about a year ago when it was first going out on tour and I made it all the way to the final callbacks. However, I didn’t get it so I moved on. But I did tell a friend of mine that ‘I am going to do the show one day. I don’t know when, where, how, but I feel like I’m going to do it.’ It’s crazy to look back on how this all happened.”
When asked about how the musical is different from the film, Mueller said “We have a lot more dancing which is awesome. I think it is a really big plus and an aspect that the audience really enjoys. We also have all the original songs from the movie but have 16 new original songs too. The show also flushes out story lines and goes more in depth with the relationships than the movie does.”
Considering that Jennifer Beals, the star of the film is so closely identified with the role, how does Mueller make it her own? “I have my own personality, my views, thoughts and feelings, so I try and put that into everything I do. What’s really cool is that I am actually the age that the character is supposed to be. A lot of times in the theater, actors are cast older to play younger but I am the same age as the character. I sing everything and in the movie, Jennifer Beals didn’t do any of the dancing. She had dance doubles, but in our show, I do all the dancing and singing.”
According to Mueller, the audiences for “Flashdance the Musical,” are multigenerational. “Every night audiences seem to really love it. Some people walk down memory lane and have nostalgia for the movie. I think we really fulfill all of that and then some. As far as young people — I think they enjoy it even more. A lot of them who haven’t see the film, come not knowing what to expect, but seem to really enjoy it. At the end of the day, it’s a love story about a girl with passion who overcomes obstacles to fulfill her dream. It’s extremely timeless and inspirational. I think no matter how old you are — the show speaks to everybody.”
Ticket prices for “Flashdance the Musical,” which runs through Oct. 6, start at $28 and are available in person at the Broadway Across America Box Office downtown at 342 Massachusetts Avenue, Clowes Memorial Hall, The Old National Center Ticket Office, online at BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com, or by phone at 1-800-982-2787. Groups of 10 or more can book now by calling 317-632-7469 x103.
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