INTERVIEW: Ben Adams on his role in FLASHDANCE and his love for musical theatre

Ben Adams as Nick Hurley in FLASHDANCE

Ben Adams as Nick Hurley in FLASHDANCE. Photography by Brian Hartley

Ben Adams talks to Frankly My Dear UK about his role in FLASHDANCE and his new found love for musical theatre

It’s fair to say that Ben Adams is a busy man. Best known as one-fourth of British–Norwegian pop group A1, the singer, songwriter and music producer is now turning his hand to musical theatre, performing alongside Strictly Come Dancing’s Joanne Clifton in FLASHDANCE.

Based on the 1983 Oscar-winning film starring Jennifer Beals and Michael Nouri, FLASHDANCE tells the story of inspiring story of 18-year-old Alex, a welder by day and ‘flashdancer’ by night, who dreams of becoming a professional dancer. Produced by the award winning team at Selladoor Productions (the producers of FOOTLOOSE, AVENUE Q and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS), the show is currently on tour across the UK and heads to Manchester’s Palace Theatre this week.

“The story has been fleshed out quite a bit and there are new characters that didn’t appear in the film” comments Adams in an exclusive interview with Donna Kelly from Frankly My Dear UK.

“Obviously it’s got all the big 80s hits that you’d expect like MANIAC, WHAT A FEELING and I LOVE ROCK AND ROLL. There is also a lot of original songs as well. If you have seen the film I think you’ll love it but if you haven’t seen the film, it actually doesn’t matter. It’s not like you need to have seen the film for it to make sense.”

Adams plays Nick Hurley, Alex’s love interest who sees her ambition and helps push her to audition at a prestigious dance academy.

“He’s the boss of the steelworks where Alex works” explains Adams.

“She’s a girl who wants to leave the steelworks and become a dancer and they become romantically involved. It looks like he paves her way into the school and obviously that doesn’t go down very well but then she gets in on her own merit in the end. I’m sort of a rich kid who doesn’t know a lot about life. His heart is in the right place but he gets a lot of things wrong.”

Ben Adams and the cast of FLASHDANCE. Photography by Brian Hartley

Ben Adams and the cast of FLASHDANCE. Photography by Brian Hartley

FLASHDANCE marks Adams’ musical theatre debut, although the 35 year old is no stranger to performing on stage. At 16, he became the lead singer of the band A1, who racked up 10 million record sales, two UK number ones, five studio albums and toured throughout the world. Adams now works as a successful songwriter and producer, collaborating with artists like Robin Thicke, Craig David, JLS, Sam Bailey and Alexandra Burke. Yet, despite his musical background, Adams admits he never thought musical theatre was for him.

“I’ve always loved musical theatre but never really wanted to be in one. I’ve had a lot of offers over the years and always turned them down. When FLASHDANCE came along, I was writing my own musical. I finished that and it was going to be another six months before it was going to be put on so I thought why not have a go at actually being in a musical and see what I think? I actually loved it so much that I extended my contract until October this year. It was sort of a surprise, that I liked doing musical theatre.”

The musical Adams was writing was EUGENIUS!, a show where geeks rule, dreams do come true and everyone finds the superhero inside themselves. The musical is currently on at The Other Palace in London following a sold out London palladium performance. The idea and music came to Adams and his close friend and scriptwriter Chris Wilkins one drunken night in a local pub.

“We’ve been friends for years and we always said we should write a musical together. We never really got round to it until we went to the pub in Clapham where I live and we suddenly thought now is the time to write a musical so we started the first song very drunk and it actually turned out really quite brilliant. It kind of escalated from there.”

Alongside his work in FLASHDANCE and on EUGENIUS!, Adams is also still touring with A1 and working in the music industry and is showing no signs of slowing down.

“I’ve just released the EUGENIUS! album so that needs promotion. I’ve got a solo album that I released two tracks from last year so I need to get a schedule for releasing that. I’m doing a classical EP which went straight to number one on iTunes so I’ve got another six tracks to bring out with that. I’ve also been working with Wandering Hearts, an Americana band and Ward Thomas, a country band and I’ve got a lot of stuff going on in Holland with a girl band over there. Lots and lots. I like to keep myself really busy. During the day I’m always working and there is always people asking me to do songs for them or produce songs for them so it’s something I can do whilst I’m on the road which is quite useful.“

Ben Adams and Joanne Clifton in FLASHDANCE. Photography by Brian Hartley

Ben Adams and Joanne Clifton in FLASHDANCE. Photography by Brian Hartley

Ben Adams stars in FLASHDANCE which runs at the Palace Theatre, Manchester from 12 to 17 February 2018.