BWW Review: 'FLASHDANCE' THE MUSICAL at Palace Theatre
The Palace Theater in Manchester is home to many well-known theater productions that entertain the diverse community in the city. One such show is "Flashdance", which is running at the Palace until November 17th. From tasteful 80's fashion popping up through different costumes to classic songs from the decade, this production brings the best of the 80's (while still appealing to those of us who are perhaps less of a fan). Alongside the great music, this production also featured projection work, live video, and unique lighting to bring a tasteful diversity to a minimalistic set design.
The set design looked to initially feature steel beams reminiscent of the factory setting that the main character Alex finds herself in at the beginning of the show. However, the vertical "beams" were lit from the floor, which means through the production they easily were able to color them differently and erase that initial industrial vibe. Flexible set design, combined with accent lighting and creative false proscenium lights allowed the different scenes to be extremely believable without changing many pieces.
With the perfectly chosen set, lights, and costumes, comes a talented cast. Though all the actors were gifted, some actors, including ensemble actors with no named parts, shined through in certain scenes. The first actor to stand out was a member of the ensemble and was in many, if not all, of the dance numbers-Sebastian Goldberg. What made his performance notable, aside from his dancing, was that he remained in character and committed 100% of each song. Two other actors who stood out were Jason Long and Zoe Schneider-Smith. In Act 1 their characters are somewhat interesting, and the actors played them nicely. However, during Act 2 they go through immense growth and change and I was blown away with how well the actors played both the goofy sides and the serious-sometimes, emotionally devastating-side of their characters. The hauntingly real performance of "Gloria" showed the seedy side of the performance world, and was paralyzing and gut wrenching. Zoe executed it so well, and both Jason Long and Katie Ann Harvey (who played the lead, Alex) came in after this serious scene with the perfect emotional response.
It would be easy to continue noting different songs and scenes where actors stood out, and the entire cast was clearly talented and well rounded in dance, acting, and song. Katie Ann Harvey played a demanding role extremely well, and that is important to note. However, two actors shined through the cast of accomplished singers. The first is BreAnna Collier, whose voice was velvety, smooth, and masterfully used. Though Kiki is on and off stage, I looked forward to songs featuring her performance. Lastly was Jared M. Troilo, whose singing and performance as Nick Hurley were the perfect blend of relatable, scene appropriate, and talented. His singing has a soft yet powerful quality, and his acting feels believable and real as he transforms through being the rookie, the relatable boss, and the love interest.
The only notes I would love to give the directorial team is to watch the balance in louder songs when actors are singing lower notes. Some of Anthony Nuccio's notes were lost in his very commanding and creepy performance of C.C. Occasionally, certain projections (of ballet dancers) were distracting, but don't let that persuade you from seeing this stellar production. Without revealing too much, there is a dance scene utilizing an overhead camera that assured this was going to be a show full of surprises. Make sure to purchase the final remaining tickets for this performance, as it only runs for one final weekend!