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Arts & Culture

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Flashdance: The Musical"

SCHENECTADY – The film “Flashdance” was a surprise hit in 1983.   It wasn’t a musical but the music and dance in the show about a female steel-worker who moonlights as a dancer in nightclubs and dreams of being a ballet dancer won over audiences.

The stage adaptation, “Flashdance: the Musical,” playing at Proctors until Sunday offers the same deal.  When it sticks to music and dancing it’s an entertaining show.  However, when it tries to tell a meaningful story filled with romance, social significance and the need to live one’s dreams it’s mawkish and awkward.  

There are a number of plot lines weaving throughout the show, all clichés.  There is Alex’s desire to live life as an independent woman.  There’s the romance between her and Nick, which is thwarted because his family owns the steel mill and she refuses to accept his help.   Then there is Nick’s issue of wanting to succeed as the plant manager and save the jobs of the workers who have become his friends and it must be done without the support of his selfish rich family.  You get it.

Also crammed into the 2 ½ hour long show are the problems of the supporting characters – failure, rejection, temptation and having their loyalties tested.  As my 17 year old companion noted, it was like scenes from every movie you’ve ever seen.  What she didn’t mention was there were no good movies on that list.

“Flashdance” lacks originality in every area of the production.

And yes, the reality is that no one should be disappointed because “Flashdance”  isn’t Chekhov with music.  It is what it is.  But the public does deserve something better to link the musical numbers – which by the way - are energetic and mostly entertaining.

That the show isn’t a success is not the fault of the hard-working cast led by Sydney Morton as Alexs.  She’s a diminutive dynamo who can belt out a song and high kick with the best of them. She’s seductive enough to be believed as a dancer in a “Gentleman’s Club,” yet she’s personable enough to think of as the girl next door, if the girl next door happened to be a tough-as-nails tomboy. 

Corey Mach is a sincere and likeable Nick.  Too, there are the best friend strippers with quick wits and hearts of gold who basically serve as eye-candy - especially when the do their sanitized numbers in the strip club.

One of the few pleasures of the evening is the work of the second banana couple of Gloria and C.C.   Their relationship is one of the biggest cliches in the show, but Ginna Claire Mason and Christian Whelan make the pair fun.

As for the music, except for the songs already known from the film, “Maniac,” “Gloria” and “What a Feeling,” they are forgettable.  And yes, Alex does close the first act in silhouette with water cascading over her body. 

“Flashdance: the Musical” is a bad adaptation of weak material.  It has moments that are entertaining but it fails to satisfy on almost every level.

“Flashdance: the Musical” continues at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady through Sunday.  346-6204.

Bob Goepfert is the arts editor for the Troy Record.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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