Flashdance – The Musical
I was invited to bring a friend to attend opening night of Flashdance – The Musical at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.
I liked musicals well enough when I was a kid – Grease and even flop Xanadu were well beloved by me. However, as an adult, I haven’t seen a musical that grabbed me. Sure Chicago was ok, I guess. I saw a live stage production of Les Misérables and was très miserable. I had no clue that they sing every single word. There is no way I’ll ever see the movie production of Les Misérables.
So why did I agree to see Flashdance – The Musical? Uh, it’s Flashdance. The musical is a stage adaptation of the movie, which I very much loved as a young person. More recently, I made my partner watch it since he had a large cheesy-80s-dance-movie-sized hole in his cinematic education.
By “cheesy,” I mean fun. Dancing, romance, sexy dancing, welding, ambition, a sleazy villain, and a dog named Grunt. Flashdance – The Musical has everything but Grunt. I like dogs and all, but I didn’t miss him with everything else Flashdance – The Musical does have.
We all know the story of Alex, welder by day, bar dancer (not stripper) by night, falls for her boss who helps her realize her dream of going to a proper school of dance. Nothing’s changed from the movie’s plot.
What has changed it there’s much more singing, and even more dancing. It is, after all, a musical. The kind of musical I get behind: the story moves forward via dialog and action, occasionally punctuated by singing and/or dancing numbers; nothing like Les Miz.
Also a change from the movie: a lot more character development of the peripheral characters, many of whom have their own singing and/or dancing numbers. We get to know the guys at the steel mill, as well as Alex’s fellow bar dancing ladies, much better than the movie allowed.
Don’t worry, the iconic songs you associate with Flashdance are all there, but Flashdance – The Musical has a whole lot more. The iconic dances you associate with Flashdance are all there (yes, even that one), but Flashdance – the Musical has a whole lot more.
Very much unlike the movie, every single one of the performers in Flashdance – The Musical are doing their own very hard work. There are no body doubles. Star Jillian Mueller is most definitely dancing beautifully.
All of the dancers are amazing. Their bodies are strong and beautiful. I could tell because not only were we sat in the second row center, but because true to the source material, many of the dance numbers were done in very few clothes. (I would suggest the production uses padded dance belts in the future, however.)
Before we saw the production, I was worried that my straight male partner who likes musicals even less than I would be grumpy about having been drug along to a Broadway In Chicago musical. Afterward he assured me that there is no way he could have enjoyed it more if he were gay. That’s an endorsement. Flashdance – The Musical: A musical for straight men.
And everyone else. Though most everyone – with the exception of the roughly 10-year-old child sitting next to me – in the theater knew the story, the audience couldn’t help but break out in applause and cheers at the climactic scene. That’s a testament to the strength of the performances, all of which were amazing.
Flashdance – The Musical is on a limited two week engagement through August 18 and is definitely worth a viewing.