BWW Reviews: FLASHDANCE Goes Maniac

BWW Reviews: FLASHDANCE Goes Maniac

Before "So You Think You Can Dance" and the "Step Up" films, there was "Flashdance," the 80s cult classic that brought us songs like "Maniac" and "I Love Rock N Roll." Such songs are, for the most part, the life and soul of the film's fairly new musical counterpart, playing at Broadway Sacramento through this Sunday.

MTV and loud beats greet the audience before the show. The keyboard-driven electronic music energizes the air as a cast of bright colors causes us to wonder, "Why don't people dress like that any more?" And then we're led through a fun, slightly cleaned-up version of the original story about an artistic strip dancer named Alex who dreams of becoming a professional dancer and attending Shipley Dance Academy. Boyfriend Nick encourages her while attempting to find new ways for his family's business to succeed.

The hit songs from the movie mostly sung in the background help keep the show moving, along with some killer dancing from an underused and under-amplified ensemble. Unfortunately, the 80s-inspired score tends to blend without any new memorable tune, too much song and too little dialogue. Even fan-favorite "I Love Rock N Roll" drags somewhat. But other original songs like "Maniac" and "Manhunt" add real energy and excitement to the production, especially as sung by the powerhouse voices of Dequina Moore, Alison Ewing and Ginna Claire Mason.

The leads of "Flashdance" certainly know how to work the stage. Corey Mach as Nick, David R Gordon as Gloria's "comedic" boyfriend and Christian Whelan as sleazy nightclub competitor C.C. head the male ensemble with strong vocals and convincing performances. Madeline Doherty makes light of the material she is given as Alex's ornery, endearing and humorous dance mentor, Hannah. And Jillian Mueller as Alex commands the stage with a strong and confident presence touched by self-doubt and a difficult past. Her turn in the watery first act finale ends too soon, but with an immediate and lasting impression.

Paul Tazewell's costume design harkens back to the film's looks, while incredible set, lighting and projection designs combine for a complete experience.


Broadway Sacramento
Through February 9

Follow Harmony Wheeler's theatre adventures on Instagram and Twitter @HarmonyWheeler.

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Harmony Wheeler A theater lover since childhood, Harmony Wheeler has done Marketing and Public Relations work for Sierra Repertory Theatre, Hillhouse Opera Company and other companies. She graduated with high honors from Biola University with her degree in Journalism and an emphasis in Public Relations. In addition to working for the Gallo Center for the Arts, MJM Entertainment Group, Biola University Marketing and Communications, 6th Street PR, and Zimbabwe Gecko Society, Wheeler has written for The Modesto Bee, The Chimes, Static MultiMedia,, TUFW Alumnus Magazine, Christian Book Previews, The Christian Communicator, and Church Libraries Magazine. Her photos appear in The Dominican Dream, a book available for purchase through Biola University's Journalism Department. Her photography and video work can be found at To learn more about Harmony Wheeler, or to contact her for work possibilities, visit


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