Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

This Flash Needs More Wattage; Review; Based on a Jennifer Beals Movie, 'Flashdance' Only Flickers Onstage; ENTERTAINMENT

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

This Flash Needs More Wattage; Review; Based on a Jennifer Beals Movie, 'Flashdance' Only Flickers Onstage; ENTERTAINMENT

Article excerpt

Sometimes at a musical, you find yourself wondering what it was like in the rehearsal hall.

Take "Flashdance The Musical," which opened Tuesday at the Peabody Opera House. Like many shows aiming at Broadway, this production has a big cast, packed with talented dancers. They plainly have trained for years.

At rehearsal breaks, they must have talked to one another. What did they say about the show they were in, the story of a welder by day, exotic dancer by night, who wants to be a ballerina and who makes her dreams come true!

Do you think these people, who know firsthand what a dance career involves, laughed their heads off? Or were they unlike our heroine Alex, the welder/ballerina glad just to have a job?

Alex is played by Emily Padgett, a leggy young woman with curly dark hair like Jennifer Beals. (Beals played Alex in the movie that inspired the show.) In the finale, she auditions for a snooty dance school in her own personal style.

This is her big moment, but director/choreographer Sergio Trujillo seems a little confused about how to express that. There's a touch of lyricism, plus a dash of b-boy moves. But mostly, it's a display of what I like to call Fling Dancing. If you don't have arthritis, you, too, can be a star.

"Flashdance" is a mess, a fairy tale that can't even hold on to a single point of view. When Nick (Matthew Hydzik), heir to the steel mill where Alex welds, falls for her, one of her friends asks her why she isn't interested in a guy who's handsome, considerate and rich. We never get an answer. (Is there one?) Nor do we discover what makes her change her mind.

Actually, there are lots of things that we don't get in this incoherent outing. Alex does her exotic dancing at a Pittsburgh club that is, for some vague reason, a moral cut above its sleazy competitor down the street. …

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