by: Carly Noel Updated:
PITTSBURGH - Sewickley native Matthew Hydzik is back in his hometown, starring in the world premiere of "Flashdance The Musical."
The musical about female welder Alex Owens striving to become a professional dancer runs through Sunday at Heinz Hall.
Hydzik, a Quaker Valley High School and Penn State University graduate, has been in several Broadway shows and Broadways tours, but never has he had a connection to a show like he has with this one.
"It's surreal doing this project back home," Hydzik told me during an interview Friday.
The musical, just like the 1983 box office hit, is set in Pittsburgh. Hydzik plays Nick Hurley, the owner of a steel mill. Hydzik's father, grandfather and even grandmother worked in Pittsburgh steel mills.
"I had my family, my in-laws, my wife and my teachers in the audience (Thursday)," he said.
Hydzik is making the most of his short tour stop in Pittsburgh. When he's not on stage, he's visiting his favorite restaurants, including Primanti Bros., and spending time with his parents, Edward and Cathy, and brother, Brennen.
His wife, Megan Arnoldy, made the trip to Pittsburgh for the premiere. Arnoldy is also a performer; she
plays Lorraine in Las Vegas' "Jersey Boys" production.
"There are benefits, and there are sacrifices. The benefit is I love touring. It's an opportunity for me to go to cities that I usually would have no reason to go to. The sacrifice is I'm not living with my wife. We talk in the morning and talk at night. We text a lot and do FaceTime. We never go longer than two weeks without seeing each other," Hydzik explained.
I actually ran into Hydzik and his wife when seeing "Jersey Boys" in Las Vegas last summer. Hydzik and my sister, Jenna, were in the Broadway tour "Rent" together. The theater community is small.
It's so small that a lot of the "Flashdance The Musical" cast members have worked together before. They're great friends, and they support each other. Hydzik said his friend Emily Padgett, who plays Alex, has worked incredibly hard at the difficult lead role.
"You watch this girl go through this journey, as I did in real life, and I get choked up at the end of the show. I feel so proud of her. She shines," Hydzik said.
Padgett dances and sings throughout the entire show.
"Flashdance The Musical" includes several high-energy dance numbers performed to hit songs from the
movie, including "What a Feeling," "Maniac," "Gloria," "Manhunt"and "I Love Rock & Roll." Sixteen new songs were written for the stage with music by Robbie Roth and lyrics by Robert Cary and Robbie Roth. The director and choreography credit goes to Sergio Trujillo.
"The movie is great. I think the musical is 10
times better. It delves in deeper with Alex's journey. She is confident but even the most confident waver. She pushes through," said Hydzik.
Just like the character Alex from Pittsburgh, Hydzik from Pittsburgh worked hard to achieve a dream.
Hydzik has starred on Broadway as Tony in the revival of "West Side Story" and Kenickie in "Grease." He has also appeared in the Broadway national tours "Rent," "Fame" and "Grease."
Hydzik is committed to a nine-month tour of "Flashdance the Musical."