Those who enjoyed the 1983 film “Flashdance,” won’t be disappointed with “Flashdance – The Musical.” It’s the dynamic stage adaptation, presented by a national touring company that opened Tuesday at Clowes Memorial Hall on the campus of Butler University. The show continues through Sunday, Oct. 6.
Unlike the film, there is much more dancing and 16 songs have been added in addition to, “What a Feeling" and others from the movie. Aside than that, though, this stage version follows the same story as that in the film.
It’s about Alex Owens, a young woman who is a welder by day and exotic dancer by night who dreams of becoming of becoming a ballerina. Complications arise when she falls in love with her boss at the steel mill where she works. However, it’s that same relationship that empowers her to overcome obstacles to make her dream come true.
“Flashdance – The Musical,” features a book by Robert Cary and Tom Hedley (co-writer of the original screenplay with Joe Eszterhas). Though essentially a love story “Flashdance – The Musical,” also explores serious issues related to class, labor and female empowerment but ultimately feels predictable and somewhat underdeveloped. Fortunately, it’s almost impossible to lose interest in the action because the pace of this production is lightning fast.
Directed and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo, the cast includes Jillian Mueller as Alex, Corey Mach as Nick, Allison Ewing as Tess, Ginna Clare Mason as Gloria, DeQuina Moore as Kiki, Jo Ann Cunningham as Hannah, David R. Gordon as Jimmy, Matthew Henerson as Harry and Christian Whelan in the role of C.C.
As a dancer, singer and actor, Jillian Mueller is ideally suited for the role of Alex, the determined blue-collar girl, with grit and moxie who achieves whatever she sets her mind to, be it welding or dancing. Muller showed charisma and was dynamic in all her dance sequences, including the one choreographed to iconic “Maniac.”
Ironically, the scene in which Alex auditions in “What a Feeling,” to get into a prestigious dance school is somewhat anticlimactic given all the spectacular dancing that is seen prior to it — making her character’s effort seem fairly ordinary.
Corey Mach was also believable as kindly Nick, the boss’ son who falls for Alex who continually questions his motives as he strives to convince her that his intentions are sincere. Mach's performance was especially notable for the quality of his singing, which was superb.
Standing out was Ginna Claire Mason as Gloria, Alex’s friend who dreams of dancing on MTV. Also striking were Allison Ewing and DeQuina Moore who played, Alex’s fellow nightclub dancers, Tess and DeQuina, respectively. Always riveting whenever they were they were on stage was the tremendous chorus of multi-talented performers.
The ingenious sets, lighting and the ’80-period costumes for “Flashdance – The Musical” all contribute to a production that not only inspires with its message but also uplifts as it entertains.
Though a nostalgic journey for those influenced by it during their youth, this show tells a story that will appeal to anyone with a dream.
Ticket prices for “Flashdance – The Musical” start at $28 and are available in person at the Broadway Across America Box Office downtown at 342 Massachusetts Avenue, Clowes Memorial Hall, The Old National Center Ticket Office, online at BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com, or by phone at 1-800-982-2787. Groups of 10 or more can book now by calling 317-632-7469 x103.
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