Thirty years ago a movie opened up and women everywhere were cutting sweatshirts to expose a bare shoulder and putting on leg warmers to complete their ‘dancers outfit’. Last night the Broward Performing Arts Center had opening night for the musical version of the film and though there was a bare shoulder here and there, there was not a leg warmer in sight!.
“Flashdance the Musical” is the Cinderella story of Alex (Emily Padgett) who works in a steel mill, is a ‘flash dancer’ at night, falls in love with Nick (Matthew Hydzik) the owner of the mill, but, more than anything, wants to be a professional dancer with the Shipley Dance Academy. We all know what will happen but it is the journey getting there that makes the show interesting, not to forget the energetic, sometimes WOW! dancing.
Director/choreography Sergio Trujillo opens the show with Alex and the ensemble taking the stage and working it not for the only time in the production. He works the ensemble very hard and they come through all the way. For those that care there is a lot of eye candy and hard bodies on stage. Years ago chorus girls were thrown on stage for the ‘tired business man’ and now they also throw chorus boys in for the ‘tired business woman’ but all these kids work hard and their bodies show the effort.
Along the way we meet Gloria (Kelly Felthous), Kiki (Dequina Moore), Tess (Rachelle Rak), Hannah (Jo Ann Cunningham), each contributing a show stopping dance number, Jimmy (David R. Gordon) a third rate comedian, CC (Christian Whelan) a club owner, Harry (Matthew Henerson) a rival club owner and with all the dancing the ensemble does they certainly deserve equal billing and they are Holly Ann Butler, Claire Camp, Derek Carley, Ryan Carlson, Natalie Caruncho, Lynorris Evans, Thursday Farrar,, Jacob Karr, Dan Kohler, Holly Laurent, Branch Martinez, Nick McGough, Ariela Morgenstern, Rebecca Riker, Andrea Spiridonakos, Lawrence E. Street and Kamille Upshaw,
The book for the musical has been rewritten by Tom Hedley and Robert Carey, the former having written the screenplay and, with Robbie Roth, Carey has added 16 new songs some of which can become hits with repeated listenings.There is no doubt you will walk out of the theatre singing those songs of 20 years ago which are still infectious such as “Gloria”, “Maniac” and/or “What a Feeling”.
The first act is too long and because there are so many subplots Matthew Hydzik fades into the scenery nor do you really connect with Emily Padgett. Hydzik does get to step into his own belting out a few tunes in the second act and Padgett does connect with the audience. Her dancing throughout the show uses every part of her long thin dancer’s body.
Should you not be a ‘student’ of the film you may not realize how much has been changed from the film but like the dancing, which is a joy to watch, there are too many dance numbers and too many second characters to follow. On first hearing none of the new songs stand out and you still walk out with the old hit songs swimming in your head.
The production team of Klara Zieglerova, Paul Tazewell, Howell Binkley, Peter Nigrini, John Shivers and David Patridge use rear projections, sliding pieces, curtains, lighting, videos, sound to keep the stage looking active sometimes just a little too busy.
The orchestra, under the direction of Nate Patten, though small, gives all the sound needed by the singers and dancers
The latest ‘buzz’ is that “Flashdance The Musical” will be heading to Broadway by August.
First act 1 hour and 16 minutes Intermission 10 minutes Second act 1 hout
Smoke, strobe lights
Coming to the Broward Performing Arts Center: “The Addams Family” April 9 followed by “Warhorse” May 7 “The Book of Mormon” will open the new season November 26.