“Flashdance the Musical” Makes a Splash at Starlight

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"Flashdance the Musical" is the current production at Starlight Theatre.


“She’s a maniac, maniac on the floor. And she dances like she never danced before.”

Those familiar lyrics tell the tale of a young welder who wants to be a dancer in “Flashdance: The Musical,” now playing at Starlight Theatre. Yes, it’s a theatrical adaptation of the thirty-year-old cult classic movie.

The stage version uses many of the songs from the film’s Grammy-winning soundtrack, including the aforementioned hit, “Maniac,” “Gloria,” “I Love Rock and Roll” and the title tune, the Oscar-winning anthem, “Flashdance…What a Feeling.”

Lots of additional tunes by Robbie Roth and Robert Cary have been added to the lineup. A few too many, in fact.

The flick’s plot was ridiculous even in 1983, but it seems downright clunky today. If this pre-Broadway tour hopes to make it to the Great White Way, there are still a lot of improvements that need to be made.

You can’t fault the talented cast for the show’s shortcomings, though. Jillian Mueller performs with ‘passion’ as Alex Owens, a Pittsburgh steel mill worker who moonlights as a nightclub dancer by night.

Mueller is a fine singer and dancer, more than up to the show’s extraordinarily demanding requirements. However, she doesn’t quite capture the earthy, working class appeal that Jennifer Beals brought to the movie version.

The supporting cast is also strong, including Overland Park native and Miller-Marley School of Dance alumni Haley Hannah, who played the part of Tess on opening night. Her rendition of Joan Jett’s anthem, “I Love Rock and Roll” is one of the show’s highlights.

Equally good is “Manhunt,” performed with zeal by Dequina Moore, and “Put it On,” sung by Hannah, Moore, Mueller and Kelly Felthous.

But supporting characters are a part of the show’s problem. There are too many of them, their parts are not well written and they’ve simply got too many inconsequential songs to sing.

Matthew Hydzik does what he can with the show’s thankless male lead role, Nick Hurley, Alex’s new factory boss. A talented singer, Hydzik tries gamely to add some appeal to a cardboard character.

Director/choreographer Sergio Trujillo has worked stage magic with the Tony Award-winning Broadway hits “Jersey Boys” and “Memphis.” Here, he seems defeated by the play’s awkward book. He employs a lot of creative stage movement and snappy dancing, but the show’s pace still seems erratic.

There are moments to savor, but “Flashdance” is obviously a work in progress.

“Flashdance: The Musical” runs through July 14th at Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo. Information is available by calling 816-363.STAR (7827) or by visiting www.kcstarlight.com.

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