Edelman: ‘Flashdance’ @ Starlight / ‘Rocky Horror’ @ Crown Center

Ensemb-EdTed-487They’re flashin, they’re dancin– Not just at the musical version of everybody’s favorite ’80s welder movie FLASHDANCE (now through Sunday at Starlight), though that’s got plenty of glitz and moves, too.No, I’m talking about THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, now thru Saturday night at the Off-Center Theater in Crown Center. Steve Eubanks‘ Egads Production has once again rolled out this chestnut (make that several pairs of well hung chestnuts) in honor of the show’s 40th anniversary.

And it’s a hoot.

For all of the hard work and heavy lifting Eubanks’ talented cast undertakes, it’s the audience that brings the energy to this ROCKY. Monday night’s show may as well have been a friggin Frank-n-Furter convention. Armed with their prop kits, the riff raff (not to be confused with the character in the show) kept up a call and response with the actors and each other that would put the Reverend Al or Aretha to shame.

Frank-Brad-139Penetrating a load that’s that loud is no easy task, but these seasoned performers made it look like fun. Narrator (and ROCKY third-timer) Bill Pelletier— a Paul Giamatti-ringer– gave us good as he got with some very funny ad libbed rejoinders. “Paula Deen at a Snoop Dog concert”– now that’s kicking back.

 

C-Floorshow-589The rest of the sodden crew deserves a medal for getting through all of the audience potshots with an anything-but-straight face. Noah Whitmore and Mandy Morris made hay as the winsome pair of straights Brad (asshole!) and Janet (slut!). Samn Wright as Frank and Tyler Eisenrich (Riff Raff), Stefanie Stevens (Columbia), Andrew Schmidt (Eddie) and  Erin Huffman (covering for Magenta) distinguished themselves ignobly. And Tim Caster had just the right hunk as the eponymous Rocky.   

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press-image443It’s one thing to get pelted with comebacks from the audience and keep on dancing. Quite another to plie and break dance in 95 degree heat. That’s what hit the FLASHDANCE cast square in the face when the curtain rose at Starlight Tuesday night.
They, too, made it look easy.
Producer Denton Yockey snagged the pre-Broadway tryout of this latest movie into musical project. Judging by the standing O’s at the end of the show, it’s a good prospect for Big Apple success, too. Guided by Tony Award winning (for JERSEY BOYS and MEMPHIS) director/choreographer Serge Trujillo, a great looking company of impressive triple threats (as in acting/singing/dancing)
even turned up the Starlight heat a notch.
press-image429Production credits were first rate– that set did just about everything but turn into a helicopter and fly away. Jillian Mueller looked and sang great as Alex, bringing back all of the old Jennifer Beal moves and costume changes. She danced up a storm, too; although I thought the Act Two showstopper– where she auditions for the ballet school– was a little too “Glee” and not enough “Music in the Mirror,” Donna McKechnie‘s heart-stopper from A CHORUS LINE.
Matthew Hydzik made a great b.f. and Alex’s buddies– Kelly Felthous, Dequina Moore and KC’s own Haley Hannah as an irrepressible Tess– more than kept up with the beat. The ensemble worked their butts, off– so did the crew, in that sweltering heat.
FLASHDANCE celebrates its 30th anniversary this year; the original play of ROCKY is 40.
Help blow out the candles and visit one or both of them this week. It may be their birthdays, but you get the gift– of great musical theater.
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