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Flashdance Review—Iconic 80s Film Finds New Life on Chicago Stage

By Jessie Bond

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Jillian Mueller as Alex Owens. Photo by Jeremy Daniel

 

Flashdance is one of those movies that everyone is familiar with, whether or not they’ve seen it. Songs like “Maniac” and “Flashdance—What a Feeling” are still played on the radio, and iconic moments like the one pictured above are ingrained into popular culture. Flashdance—The Musical, open for a limited engagement at the Cadillac Palace August 6-18, brings this classic Cinderella story to life in a dynamic, engaging performance enjoyable for all generations.

 

Ensemble of Flashdance—The Musical. Photo by Jeremy Daniel

 

Flashdance—The Musical tells the story of Alex, a steel mill welder by day and bar dancer by night who dreams of becoming a professional dancer. The show features hit songs from the movie, such as “Maniac,” “Flashdance—What a Feeling,” “Gloria,” “Manhunt,” and “I Love Rock and Roll,” as well as 16 original songs that fuse effortlessly with these 80s hits without becoming too nostalgic or derivative. Indeed, the show as a whole did an excellent job of capturing the spirit of the original Flashdance while also adding new elements that added to the story and kept it fresh.

 

Kelly Felthous as Gloria, DeQuina Moore as Kiki, and Katie Webber as Tess. Photo by Jeremy Daniel

 

Actress Jillian Mueller portrays Alex with an energy and passion that pays tribute Jennifer Beals’ performance in the film yet is uniquely her own. She is a joy to watch onstage, especially during dance numbers, when her superb talent as a dancer shines. Alex soon meets Nick Hurley, the grandson of the owner of the steel mill where she works, and the two fall in love despite their class differences. Matthew Hydzik, who plays Nick, had excellent chemistry with Mueller, and I found myself rooting for their romance to succeed.

 

Jillian Mueller as Alex Owens and Matthew Hydzik as Nick Hurley. Photo by Jeremy Daniel

 

As is the case in many Broadway musicals, the minor characters were just as engaging as the leads. Alex’s fellow bar dancers, Kiki (DeQuina Moore), Tess (Haley Hannah), and Gloria (Kelly Felthous) owned the stage during their catchy group numbers, and Alex’s mentor, Hannah (Jo Ann Cunningham), was fabulous as comic relief, especially during her hilarious number “Hannah’s Answer.” Gloria in particular stole my heart. An incarnation of Jeanie from the original film, Gloria is lured into the world of stripping by seedy club owner C.C. (Christian Whelan) and must be rescued by AlexKelly Felthous’ constant upbeat energy and honest, heart-on-her-sleeve emotional life made her a joy to watch.

 

Kelly Felthous as Gloria and David R. Gordon as Jimmy. Photo by Jeremy Daniel

 

The design for this show was also masterfully executed. Set designer Klara Zieglerova designed a cohesive set that moved seamlessly from scene to scene and featured projections of images and video that set the tone for each moment. Precise lighting design by Howell Binkley created visual interest and excitement, and detailed costumes by Paul Tazewell both added spectacle and enhanced characterization.

 

Jillian Mueller as Alex Owens and Matthew Hydzik as Nick Hurley. Photo by Jeremy Daniel

 

Simultaneously radiating sex, passion, hardship, optimism, and hope, Flashdance—The Musical is a joy to watch. This touring production breathes new life into an old classic and is worth the ticket price for anyone looking for a great time.

 

Dates and Times: August 8-16, 2013. Tuesday-Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sunday at 2:00pm. Additional performances on 8/11 at 7:30pm and 8/14 at 2:00pm.

Location: Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 West Randolph) 

Tickets: $18-$85. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Kiosk at Water Tower Place (845 N. Michigan Ave.), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com

For more information, please visit www.broadwayinchicago.com or  www.flashdancethemusical.com.

 

Published on Aug 07, 2013

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