Last Thursday I went to see the Broadway show Flashdance in Boston. It was fun, although it was really cold. It had rained cats and dogs the night before, then the rain turned to snow, and although it didn't snow very much, Thursday morning was pretty icy and there was some question about whether we would be able to go or not. But by Thursday afternoon the sun came out and the roads were clear, so off we went.
I went with a group of ladies from the Windham Newcomer's Club. Although a lot of us aren't really "new" anymore, the club is a great way to meet people and have some fun things to do. We drove down in carpools together and I was very grateful to not have to drive into Boston by myself, or try to drive home in the dark. I still think Boston is one of the most confusing cities to get around in I have ever experienced.
It was bitterly cold outside, with a strong wind blowing. Where is spring? Not in New England, at least not yet, that's for sure. We ate dinner at PF Chang's, right down the street from the theatre, and the lady that drove knew her way around so she parked in a lot that was close to both the theatre and the restaurant. I can find my way around Boston now, after much trial and error, with a lot of the error part, but I'm not very familiar with the theatre district. Its kind of tucked into a spot in between the Commons, Chinatown and South Station.
PF Chang's is pretty standard Asian-fusion fare. I did have a yummy cocktail that the waiter steered me toward when I said I was interested in saki. I had a Yuzu Ginger Mojito that had saki, yuku liquor, lime, mint and ginger beer. It was good! I would mix sake and ginger beer again. Then I had their lettuce wraps for dinner. They are listed as a starter but the entrees at PF Chang's are huge, so it was a good choice.
Now, full confession time. I've never seen the movie Flashdance. I knew it was from the 80's and involved a lot of dancing, big hair and sweatshirts slipping off of shoulders, but that's about it. The 80's are my lost decade, not because I was busy doing coke and drinking in bars, but because I had two babies and a full time job.
I love musicals, but I'm a bit snooty about them. They have to either be funny, or they have to make me think, or they have to tug at my heartstrings. The story has to make at least some sense. So, some of my favorite musicals are Sweeny Todd, South Pacific, Rent. Carousel pisses me off, Oklahoma bores me, Hair frustrates me. I've recently seen both Once and Book of Mormon, and enjoyed them both.
So, what did I think of Flashdance? Its interesting to be at a show where a significant portion of the audience obviously adores it, knows it by heart and really gets into it. Girls were dressed in 80's costume and screamed at the appropriate points in the show. That part was fun. Secondly, the dancing is really, really good. I love that kind of energetic street dancing. It's thrilling to watch, and the dancers in this production were wonderful. Third, there are a lot of good songs in this show. Maniac, I Love Rock and Roll, Gloria, What a Feeling...everytime one of those songs would start, the groupie part of the audience would scream, and I would go "Oh! THAT's from this show!"
But the story? The story itself annoyed me to no end. First of all you have a small young girl working as a welder in a steel factory in Pittsburgh in the early 80's. That's not impossible, but its certainly a stretch, a big one. She's a dancer, working in a bar at night after welding all day. But she wanders by a dance academy and longs to go there and really learn to dance. This is the part that drove me crazy. Why why why would she want to go to a place like that and learn ballet? And please, I don't care how good she is, you can't start learning ballet at 25, that's just not happening.
I don't mind the part where the steel mill boss falls in love with her, or quits his job so that he doesn't have to be the one to lay people off. I actually really liked the one scene where Harry, the owner of the bar, does a little dance number with some of the other dancers. Its cute, and for some reason I love watching a large man move gracefully. Just a little quirk I have.
But the dance part bugged me, and that took away from my enjoyment of the show. I kept comparing it to Billy Elliot, which dealt with similar issues, but dealt with them more truthfully I thought. I kept thinking how meaningless it was for the boss guy to quit; it wasn't going to change anything, those jobs were going overseas and that steel mill was going to close. I guess its just as well that Alex, the welder girl, got into the dance academy. Her welding job wasn't going to last much longer anyway.
Overall I had a good time. Like I said, I love musicals, so even if I didn't love this particular musical, I still enjoyed myself. In fact I was a little irritated with myself for being so critical. Lighten up, Lynn! Its just a musical!
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