Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published April 17, 2013 at 11:00 AM | Page modified April 18, 2013 at 1:55 PM

  • Share:
             
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

‘Flashdance’: Dancing is flashy, but not the story

A review of “Flashdance: The Musical,” now on stage at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle through April 21, 2013.

Special to The Seattle Times

THEATER REVIEW

‘Flashdance: The Musical’

Through Sunday, Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $25-$75 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
No comments have been posted to this article.
Start the conversation >

advertising

When I reviewed the low-budget movie “Flashdance” in April 1983, I had no idea it would become a box-office phenomenon — the third top-grossing film of its year.

“ ‘Flashdance’ could become a new synonym for ‘vacuous,’ ” I wrote. “It’s the cinematic equivalent of cotton candy, a bubble gum movie with artificial flavoring and almost no taste.”

I was hardly alone. Leonard Maltin was appalled by “the stupidest story this side of Busby Berkeley,” while Trevor Johnston proclaimed that “there’s absolutely nothing to it.”

Most of the dancing was done not by the star, Jennifer Beals, but by French choreographer Marine Jahan (uncredited). The title tune won an Oscar, the soundtrack took a Grammy, and Beals’ provocative way with a sweatshirt started a fashion trend.

Certainly no one expected that the 96-minute film would eventually be re-created on stage as “Flashdance: The Musical,” or that what started as an “MTV Musical” would expand on stage to two hours and 35 minutes and feature several songs that were recently written for the show.

The result, which is playing through Sunday at the Paramount, is a peculiar mixture of bloat and vigor — more honest than the movie (the dances cannot be faked), more concerned with supporting characters and less able to streamline what has by now become an unwieldy narrative.

As Alex, a daytime welder who works at night as a bar dancer, Emily Padgett can do it all.

Expressively singing, dancing and hoping to land a dance-academy audition, she suggests the spirit of unintimidated youth.

A star in a starring role, Padgett nevertheless doesn’t feel the need to dominate the show. It’s her gig, and she’s generous enough to share it with Matthew Hydzick (as Alex’s infatuated boss), Kelly Felthous (Alex’s best friend) and David R. Gordon (the best friend’s boyfriend).

Trouble is, the more time we spend with these people, the more shopworn the writing becomes. Especially during the second half, when everything’s building up to the big number (“What a Feeling”), the songs feel like speed bumps.

And the script begins to resemble a rehash of “The Pajama Game,” with its romantic pairing of factory boss and union representative. See it for the expert performances, and try not to think about the rest.

John Hartl: johnhartl@yahoo.com

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

The Seattle Times photographs

Seattle space needle and mountains

Purchase The Seattle Times images

Autos news and research

New 3-wheelers merge fun and safety

New 3-wheelers merge fun and safety


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►