First of all, I am fully aware that the show has closed. But I just had to share.
The 1983 movie “Flashdance” was a surprise box office hit, becoming the third highest grossing film of the year. Despite negative reviews, the film also produced box office numbers off the record charts, scoring such hits as “Maniac” and the Academy Award winning “Flashdance-What a Feeling,” which I would be happy to perform for you at a moment’s notice. In 2008, the stage version emerged in the UK, but now we have the U.S. national tour leg warming itself through the states. So, over the last weekend, Joanna and I invaded the Palace theatre and got ready to be rocked by this production and, of course, our dinner date, Corey Mach. (name dropping)
Mr. Mach is the main reason we are here. As many of you know, Mach grew up in Cleveland and many of us watched him develop into an entertainment powerhouse while still maintaining his humble center. Now with Broadway shows to his credit and leading a national tour, Corey Mach returns a winner and inspiration to many.
The show itself stays close enough to the story of the movie that anyone wishing to capture the magic of the cult favorite will be delighted. It still isn’t the strongest story, but there is no doubt that there are some incredible performers and the dancing is fierce
Mach cuts a fine leading man figure as Nick Hurley, and is blessed with a beautiful clear voice capable of texturing the melodies with depth and power. He has an immediate connection with the audience that is based not only on hometown support but because the man can sell a role. I refrained from applauding and standing after his solos, and I left the air horn in the car just in case I got lost in the excitement.
Mach’s leading lady is the fierce Sydney Morton. Playing Alex Owens, this fireball of talent has more abs than the movie “300.” Morton has a kick ass voice and tears up the choreography with deft accuracy and kinetic freedom.
The rest of the cast rocks. David R. Gordon as Jimmy has a fine voice and a vulnerable character that draws you in and has you rooting for his success. Ginna Clare Mason as Gloria channels some Roller Girl from Boogie Nights and delivers a solid tragic figure, which includes a battleship-ready voice and dancing chops to match. But my favorite is Kiki (Kyra Da Costa). Oh my! This girl doesn’t have to go to church on Sunday because she is going to church every time she sings. When she appears for her number “Manhunt,” it is like Tina Turner decided to revive “Thunderdome” and serve some vocal realness.
So there it is. You were there because you liked the movie or you were there to support Corey Mach. But the true reward of this production was indeed seeing Mach doing his life’s work, and doing it incredibly well, not only proving that he returned as a very talented professional, but an inspiration to thousands of young theatre students across the city. So what does he do with his week off? He spends it giving Master Classes all over Cleveland. Of course he does. That is what good people do.
Bravo, Corey and your fierce cast.
Kevin Joseph Kelly