A ‘Flashdance’ in the pan

Sydney Morton, left, has the look but not the feel of Alex Owens, the lead role in "Flashdance." (Credit Denise Truscello)
Sydney Morton, left, has the look but not the feel of Alex Owens, the lead role in “Flashdance.” (Credit Denise Truscello)

Given that the film “Flashdance” boasts an incredibly memorable dance finale, you’d think the producers of “Flashdance — The Musical” would’ve insisted on a strong dancer for the lead.

Unfortunately, Sydney Morton’s turn as Alex lacks both the passion and execution to “make it happen” in this disappointing musical interpretation of a film that made everyone want to dance. Though her vocals are strong, Morton’s demeanor is flat and her listlessly executed dancing lacks the precision, lines and zeal that is de rigeur in a Broadway caliber musical.

The ensemble fares better when Morton isn’t on stage, but once she joins them their kicks aren’t as high or their extensions as crisp. It almost feels as if they’re taking shortcuts on their way to the show’s big finish, though that proves to be the most disappointing moment of all.

Composer Robbie Roth adds a seemingly endless series of new songs to a score that boasts “Manhunt,” “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Flashdance… What a Feeling” that make it feel, at times, like a mediocre sung-through musical.

Paul Tazewell’s costumes also miss the mark, but never more so than when Alex is dancing in drop-crotch shorts.

When watching the performances of Alison Ewing and Dequina Moore, it’s hard to imagine why either of them isn’t Alex. Their stage presence is electrifying, they dance circles around Morton and they match her note for note vocally. Madeleine Doherty also delivers a solid, heartfelt performance as Hannah, while Christian Whelan is perfectly sleazy as C.C.

The story comes with a happily-ever-after ending and music that’ll make you dance in your seats. All they needed to find was the girl in the off-the-shoulder sweatshirt with big dreams and even bigger dance moves. But they didn’t.

“Flashdance — The Musical”
Through March 23rd
Colonial Theatre
106 Boylston St., Boston
Starting at $34


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