Every bump is a grind with "Flashdance - The Musical"

Rachelle Rak as Tess in "Flashdance - The Musical." Photo by Kyle Froman

"Flashdance – The Musical" whips by in a mad dash to get to...well...who knows where?

The show sure has a lot of momentum for something that fails to move anywhere.

Based on the 1983 movie, the musical looks fabulous, with its energetic choreography (the street dancing is the only time there's a pulse onstage) in front of drop-down and slide-around sets.

The blue collar Cinderella story of an ironworks welder by day/erotic dancer by night, who longs to train formerly in a hoity-toity ballet school, has had most of it empowerment dampened here. Sometimes the stage musical is just too damn elegant for its own good.


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You can't fault the cast, clearly well-trained and hoofing as if possessed by dance demons, even if most of the production numbers make every bump a grind by quickly exiting just as suddenly as they appeared. Over and over you ask yourself, "Hey, where are they going? That looks like fun. Can we go too?"

And the two romantic leads played by Emily Padgett and Matthew Hydzik are terrific. With a laser-focused script, they could set off their own welder sparks.

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Maybe there are just too many songs glutting up everything. From the movie we get "Gloria," "Maniac," "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," "Manhunt" and "Flashdance…What A Feeling," and except for the latter, none of them are absolutely needed. Then there are like 16 or so original songs by Robbie Roth and Robert Cary, many of them not so bad and a few pretty good, if they rework some banal lyrics here and there.

Every Cinderella needs a triumph. But the big audition we've been hearing about for two and half hours with a 15-minute intermission, turns out to be a passionless fizzle with no pop.

What a feeling indeed.

"Flashdance — the Musical" runs through March 17 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. Shows are 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. matinee Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesday, March 13; 7:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets cost from $39.50 to $79.50. Call 954-462-0222 or visit BrowardCenter.org.