TEEN AMBASSADOR: ABBEY BRANCO | NOVEMBER 27, 2015
In the wake of the 1983 camp classic, Flashdance, once directed by Adrian Lyne, comes a vibrant and vivacious sing-along-version brought along by the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center as Flashdance the Musical. This charismatic adaptation brings about the same feelings of determination, exuberance, and stupefaction that was once solely consumed by the film version. The Zeiterion had managed to wrap up two and a half hours stuffed with scenes of both comic relief and gritty images of the cost that comes with fame.
For the role of Alex Owens, Hofstra alumna Julia Macchio manages to encompass the thick-skinned pluck of the protagonist. She gives life to Owens’ dreams of being a world-renowned dancer in the prestigious, Shipley Dance Academy while successfully holding on to the unflinching grit that keeps the steel mill worker afloat day by day. In a world divided by class, Macchio integrates herself with the Pittsburgh located dancer that shows both the complexity of life’s challenges, and the emotions that plague the route of following your dreams.
In a series of music video-like snippets, melodies like “Manhunt” originally performed by Karen Kamon, “What A Feeling” by Irene Cara, and “Manic” by Michael Sembello, are mellifluous in nature and wonderfully executed on stage. Each dance and movement is meticulously played out, with the graceful pirouettes of ballet mashing in with high-intensity kick ups that come with breakdancing, it’s obvious only true professional can match the steps Flashdance has designed. The music presented transcends genres of hip-hop, classic rock, and bubblegum pop that had once dominated the radio shows of a Reagan-centric time period. There is nostalgia crammed throughout the scenes for anyone watching, even the newer generations.
There are, of course, darker moments that play out for Owens and her peers at Murphy’s bar and flashdance vista. In one instance, Alex’s closest friend, Gloria finds herself spiraling into the overwhelming world of the illicit narcotics and abusive settings after being promised a shot at the big time. With the hope of fulfilling your dreams comes the availability of being tricked by those around you. At points, it might seem hard to see what transpires with the morally good characters on stage, however, the overall cheery falling action of the show lightens up every viewer’s hearts.
In the revival of the once beloved classic, comes a show that is dripping with life, even with the iconic water scene pulling through seconds before intermission rolls, there is little to be disappointed by. Throughout the two and a half hours, Flashdance the Musical manages to take you away to a time where dreams were easily obtained and anything was possible when you put your mind to it. A feelgood production that’s surely to touch the lives of hundreds, the story of Alex Owens and the feelings she had will go down to be a crowd favorite.