Alex just wants to dance! When asked to describe how she feels about dance, she chooses one word: passionate. She "is the music." She looks good in a skimpy two-piece dance suit and legwarmers.
Trouble is, she's a steel mill welder who moonlights as an exotic dancer at the neighborhood bar and grill. How can anyone take her passion seriously?
Don't worry -- she finds her inner flashdance and all is right with the world.
Look. Flashdance - The Musical is not great theatre. It's not even very good. However, it is entertaining. Particularly due to the fact that it's a show about following one's passion by overcoming the odds. We can latch on to Alex's story.
Also, it's a love story.
I'm not talking about the lamely developed romance between Alex and her millionaire steel mill boss, who takes on a creepy fascination with Alex, and, of course, she falls hard for him for no apparent reason other than his pocketbook.
No, I'm talking about Alex's love affair with dance.
And the dancers in this production, under Sergio Trujillo's direction and choreography, flex and leap with passion and fire. Ballet, funk, hip hop -- their range and stamina is impressive. It's also a refreshingly diverse cast -- not everyone has a perfect dancer body, showcasing that passion overcomes form.
As Alex, Jillian Mueller certainly earns her paycheck. This is arguably one of the more demanding female roles you'll find in musical theatre. Mueller rarely leaves the stage, and when she is onstage, she's either belting high notes, leaping in the air and landing in splits or both.
Flashdance follows the template of other iconic movie-to-musical adaptations, such as Saturday Night Fever and Dirty Dancing. Meaning, those iconic movie moments branded in our brain are recreated somewhat faithfully onstage. For Flashdance, this means Alex's infamous water drenching dance and her final audition sequence.
Composer Robbie Roth (along with lyricist and book writer Robert Cary) has written a handful of mostly forgettable pop ballads to act as filler between the well known "What a Feeling" and "Maniac."
Sure, Flashdance - The Musical is instantly forgettable entertainment. However, walking out of the Caddy Palace, I heard things like, "Hey, that was better than I expected," along with a middle aged woman doing Alex's iconic running-in-place dance move in the lobby. So, there's that.
"Flashdance - The Musical" plays through August 18 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. More info here >
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