WHERE: Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady
WHEN: Through Sunday
HOW MUCH: $20-$75
MORE INFO: 346-6204, www.proctors.org
“Flashdance” was released in 1983, and has become one of the ’80s cult movies that people remember fondly — Jennifer Beals letting herself go to “What a Feeling” and dumping water over herself to “Maniac,” mostly, and her style-making off-the-shoulder sweatshirts. Just a bit over 30 years later, it’s making the rounds as a musical, currently playing on Proctors’ stage.
Alex (Sydney Morton) is a welder in a Pittsburgh steel mill by day and a dancer in a bar by night, although she has grander dreams of making her passion for dance her life. She meets Nick (Corey Mach), the mill owner’s grandson, and the old story of poor-girl-rich-boy plays out, while various other storylines unfold.
We meet Alex’s friend Gloria (Ginna Claire Mason) and her boyfriend Jimmy (David R. Gordon), who both have dreams of getting out of Pittsburgh that keep being thwarted, and Alex’s boss at the bar, Harry (Steve Greenstein), who is worried he’s going to lose business to the shady strip club across the street.
“Flashdance” isn’t a thought-provoking musical; it’s fairly straightforward, and the songs are, for the most part, unmemorable, except for the few that were radio hits in the ’80s (“Maniac,” “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll,” “Gloria,” “What a Feeling.”) It’s also too long; there are a number of scenes that could have been cut in half and still have retained the emotion needed — the show drags, and some of the songs never seem to end.
That being said, the actors put everything they have into the performance, and save it from being completely forgettable. Morton’s Alex is the right blend of spunky and sexy; her chemistry with Mach’s Nick (who bears an uncanny resemblance to John Krasinski from “The Office”) is undeniable.
Mach’s number “Justice” with the male ensemble is the only song, other than the ones I went in knowing, that actually is memorable for me; it is humorous and intelligent, and I wish more of the original songs had been this well-written.
The dance numbers are tightly choreographed and a joy to watch. Mason’s Gloria, although not a large role (more the pity) truly shines; it is a shame that in a show with so much padding there isn’t room for more interplay with her character. The set is well-constructed and interesting to watch, with projections, levels, and masterful special effects.
The show is very much the comfort food of theater; it doesn’t bring up any new ideas or anything challenging, which, in itself, isn’t a crime. It is, for what it is, very well-done.
The audience truly seemed to enjoy themselves, and enjoyed the ’80s flashback; perhaps sometimes in the theater, that’s just what’s needed.