BWW Blog: Ashley Arcement of FLASHDANCE! - Happy Trails and a Perfect Attendance Award For...
After ten months of leading Flashdance as Alex Owens, Jillian Mueller performed her final show on Sunday. At the young age of 19, I expect Jillian to become one of the strongest and most consistent performers in the industry. She's off to a great start, having not missed a single show in her 240 show run as Alex.
"Getting this role was a huge, life-changing experience," Jillian said. With bags still packed from her previous tour with the musical Memphis, Jillian had "the feeling" (pardon the Flashdance pun) that she wanted a role that not only carried great responsibility, but also pushed her technical skills to a new level. She was unquestionably up to the challenge.
A few days later I met Jillian during the final Flashdance callback, an audition that put each dancer in an especially vulnerable place. Prior to dancing the half-choreographed, half-improvised final dance, we shared personal experiences about why dance and performing means so much to us. In fact, all ten girls at the audition felt a special bond from going through that experience together and five were offered roles on the tour, including myself and Jillian. Fortunately for Jillian, her bags were still packed when she landed the new role.
One of the most common things to hear from audience members is, "how does Alex do it??" And indeed, it is one of the most challenging roles I have seen. She sings and dances virtually the entire show, culminating in her biggest power ballad leading into the final audition dance. I need a Sugarfree Red Bull just thinking about it. My favorite story Jillian told me is how she would get through the last part of the show. After almost two and a half hours of singing her face off and dancing her butt off, she would still have to execute the final audition dance. So she would take a moment when she walked over to play the record and close her eyes. She would picture being eight years old, in her parents' basement, watching the movie Flashdance. She would turn off all the lights and watch it over and over again in her little red beanbag chair, dreaming of one day being a dancer herself. When the first notes of "What a Feeling" would start, she connected to the surreality of being that little girl who was now realizing her dream.
We wish Jillian the best as she finally settles in New York after her third consecutive stint on the road. She will be missed but certainly has wonderful things in her future!
Jillian and I discovered we have the same ring from like 4 years ago, henceforth dubbed the Vegas Ring. #twinsbestfriends
During her last show I was swinging on for this sweet part where I got to wear a bad*** sparkle sweater and leopard apron. More on that later.
Jillian at the end of the final dance, which had become her favorite part of the show