It is not very often that I will see a production that deserves more than one rating, but the stage adaptation of the hit film, “Flashdance” is probably a perfect example of going to the extreme. I found the adaptation not even close to the power of the film version- part of this comes from the additional songs ( making it a musical) instead of some of the dialogue. However, when it comes to some exciting dance numbers (Choreographer/Director Sergio Trulillo ) the ensemble members are terrific! And while the film version of “Flashdance” made Jennifer Beales a star, I truly found myself forgetting her as I was falling in love with the adorable and talented Jillian Mueller taking on the role of Alex- a steel worker who has one desire ( and dream) to become a dancer.
While the story remains very close to the movie version ( hard to believe that the film was a hit over 30 years ago, the book ( Tom Hedley and Robert Cary) who also did the lyrics to go along with Robbie Roth’s music takes away from the story that hit us mush harder in the film version. Alex is a bar dancer who desires to become a professional dancer and wants to be accepted into the academy. The bar scene she works in allows her to learn from others as well as everyday street people ( the opening scene has her walking down the Pittsburgh streets watching the movement of the people and creating dance from what they do and what she sees. As I said before, the dance numbers are very special and probable would be rated
We do get the big numbers from the film, “Flashdance- What A Feeling”, “Maniac”, “Gloria”,:Manhunt”, “I Love Rock and Roll” and yes, we do get the exciting water dance ( a perfect ending to the first act) and the wonderful audition scene that ends the story. In the movie version, Alex does her final leap to a “freeze”, but since they could never capture this on a stage, live, there is a different ending- it works, but not with the same feeling that the film left us with.
The love interest for Alex, her employer,Nick ( Matthew Hydzik does an okay job) does have connections and makes due she gets her audition, but I never saw any chemistry between these two, a part o fthe movie that truly worked. The other love story, that between her “best friend” Gloria ( the adorable Kelly Felthous) and would be comedian Jimmy ( David R. Gordon) is there and has more chemistry than the main story. What makes this show one worth seeing is the dance numbers and the brilliant ensemble players- with featured players, DeQuina Moore and Katie Webber are dynamite as the other two workers with Alex and Gloria, Jo Ann Cunningham (Hannah),Christian Whelan ( as the evil CC)Matthew Henerson (Harry) and :
Carleigh Bettiol,Derek Carley, Ryan Carlson, Haley Hannah, Charlene Hoffman, Jarvis McKinley,Doreen Montalvo, Ariela Morgenstern, Katelyn Prominski, Shane Ohmer, Austen Owen, Angelo Soriano, Dana Spieler, Lawrence E. Street and Kamille Upshaw- all powerful, energetic and talented!
If you loved the film, be prepared for a bit of a letdown! If you never saw the film, I might suggest that you make that your priority, but I will say this, if you love “live theater” and love to watch skilled dancers do their thing, you will get your money’s worth with this solid cast and I may have already mentioned this, but seeing the delicious Jillian Mueller do “her thing” is worth the price of the ticket alone!
“Flashdane The Musical” will continue here at The CadillacPalace Theatre through August 18th with performances as follows:
Tuesdays 7:30 p.m.
Wednesdays 7:30 p.m. ( August 4th also at 2 p.m.)
Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.
Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m. and on 8/11 also at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets range from $18-$85 and can be purchased at the Cadillac Palace located at 151 West Randolph or any of the Broadway In Chicago box offices, by phone at 800-775-2000, at all Ticketmaster outlets or online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com
For more info you can also visit www.flashdancethe musical.com
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to review round-up and clisck at Flashdance.