Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

October 17, 2013

Flashdance, The Musical

The Bushnell, Hartford, CT
through October 16, 2013

Jillian Mueller
Flashdance” the film is 30 years old, and nostalgia informs much of the stage version of that 80’s touchstone. Even then, the story of a beautiful welder by day/exotic dancer by night with big dreams, took a back seat to the kinetic visual and musical styles of the day. Much dialogue, choreography, and costuming are in direct homage to the film, which makes for a visually arresting show.

Without a doubt, the women own the stage. Jillian Mueller, as steel worker/dancer Alex Owens is a delightful triple-threat. She belts songs, dances with abandon, and quickly wins the audience over with her delivery. Many of her numbers were capped by whoops of delight from the audience and much of the show’s success rests solidly in that connection.

Alison Ewing and Dequina Moore back up (literally and figuratively) as Tess and Kiki, Alex’s seen it all co-workers. Each is given sharp lines and knockout numbers to perform with “I Love Rock and Roll” and “Manhunt.” Their curtain call prompted the audience to leap to its feet.

As befitting a show so firmly rooted in the video age of the 80’s, the scenery is created using spectacular high definition video projections and sliding panels, creating a dynamic and paradoxically organic canvas that is enthralling to watch.

The dance numbers range in style from modern, to ballet to hip-hop, but each element seems separate from the other. That said, there are some amazing, physical, passionate performers on display.

Five Top-40 hits from the soundtrack are included in the score but it is strange that none of these are sung by the leads. Sixteen additional songs have been written, of which “Steeltown Sky” and “Here and Now” work particularly well, but not all the new additions are necessary.

Like its cinematic source, “Flashdance, The Musical” is both visually and viscerally exciting. A jolt of electricity surges through the crowd when Alex performs her famous “water dance” as it combines Mueller’s boundless energy with superb stagecraft.