Flashdance the Musical

Emily Padgett as Alex in "Flashdance the Musical," now playing at the Hippodrome. (Kyle Froman, Handout / December 27, 2012)

Padgett already had an advantage getting into the ambience of "Flashdance," having performed the female lead in another musical set in the same time period, "Rock of Ages."

"The '80s and me are very close," she said with a laugh.

That closeness is all the more remarkable given that she was born a year after the movie "Flashdance" was released.

In addition to fitting into the dance groove, the North Carolina-born Padgett found common ground with the character of Alex.

"I knew in elementary school that I wanted to be on Broadway," Padgett said. "There's a line from the movie, which I wish was in the [musical]: 'When you give up on your dream, you die.' That's what the show is all about. Alex just has to try, because if you don't always try, you'll regret it."

Padgett followed her own dream right out of high school, when she headed to New York, where she worked odd jobs before breaking into the business.

"Alex kept people at a distance, and being an actor in New York you sort of have to be that way," Padgett said. "She had a crippling fear of falling on [her] face, and I've definitely had that. So I do identify with her."

"Flashdance — The Musical" has not generated unreservedly enthusiastic reviews on the initial legs of the tour. Trujillo does not sound discouraged.

"'Wicked' didn't get great reviews, and look at how that ended up," he said. "I'm not saying this is another 'Wicked.' But you have to take the best you can from reviews. We are continuing to assess and work on the show."

Padgett, who finds the reviews "very helpful," pointed to another yardstick to measure how the tour is going.

"It's just like with 'Rock of Ages.' People hear songs they grew up with, songs that remind them of specific times in their lives," Padgett said. "You can feel the audience just open up. They're totally with us. We get standing ovations every night."

tim.smith@baltsun.com

If you go

"Flashdance" opens at 8 p.m. Tuesday and runs through Feb., 17 at the Hippodrome Theatre, 12 N. Eutaw St. Tickets are $25 to $110 (plus fees). Call 410-547-7328 or go to Ticketmaster.com.

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