April 22, 2014 7:22 pm

Flashdance inspired by Toronto bar and Hamilton steel, screenwriter says

Watch above: As the musical adaptation of Flashdance gets ready to open at the Ed Mirvish Theatre, we’re learning of a Toronto connection. Minna Rhee reports.

TORONTO – Tom Hedley, the screenwriter of Flashdance found inspiration for the 1983 movie at Gimlets Bar in downtown Toronto and Stelco Steel he told Global News Tuesday.

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“I spent some time in Hamilton – when I grew up, and Hamilton had Stelco there. And I had girls which were apprentice pipe fitters – and they needed the security, they need the health insurance. And there was no way out for them, they didn’t know what to do with their lives,” Hedley said.

The heroine of Flashdance, famously played by Jennifer Beals, worked a day job as a welder in a steel factory but dreamed of attending a prestigious dance school. The movie became a box office hit – the top R-rated movie of the year and the soundtrack went on to win a Grammy.

In 2008, Hedley finally got his opportunity to turn his film into an on-stage hit. The musical, Flashdance, opened in London’s West End in October, 2010.

“It’s got a rhythmic journey from beginning to end that never stops – it’s definitely got a pulse underneath it.” Robbie Roth, the composer for the musical said Tuesday.

Flashdance, the musical will be playing at the Ed Mirvish Theatre from May 27 to June 8.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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