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HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Top-Notch Choreography and Fun


It’s the top of the show, and the lights go down. All that can be seen is a fairly empty stage with BOMONT written down the middle. Hanging above are two signs that read “Chicago”, and on one far side is a wooden bench with a pair of white shoes sitting on top. As the first few beats of the classic title song Footloose start to play, Ren McCormack enters in a red jacket, puts on the white shoes, and jumps on top of the bench to dance.

Suddenly the ensemble enters from all sides of the house, and a dance mob ensues. Ren’s friends have come to see him off before he moves to Bomont, and the final goodbye is full of high energy. You may find yourself wanting to clap and dance along in your seat, and this writer urges you not to hold back. Footloose is a musical about letting loose and finding that freedom, and if you allow yourself to embrace it, you may find that you have just as much fun as the actors on stage.

Based on the 1984 hit film,Footloose follows Ren McCormack (Aidan Wharton), a Chicago teenager who finds him and his mom, Ethel (Heidi Kettenring) suddenly stuck in the small town of Bomont. The story itself is fairly close to the original material, focusing on a town that is haunted by a traumatic car accident that took place five years prior – an accident that has caused fear to take over and blind the inhabitants.. Reverend Shaw Moore (Jim Stanek) is at the helm of this wave, and used his influence to ban dancing and rock music in order to protect the young people. The town has difficulty accepting outsiders, but Ren is determined to bring dance and music back to the community, and is simply not going to accept no for an answer. The “rebel” may even become just the source of inspiration they need to move forward towards a hopeful future. 

With Director Gary Griffin, Musical Director Ryan T. Nelson, and Choreographer William Carlos Angulo at the helm, Footlooseis full of top-notch choreography and an ensemble that literally brings a cheering audience to their feet. The score features hit songs including Footloose, Holding Out for a Hero, Let’s Hear it for the Boy, and Somebody’s Eyes.

Thrilling Musical Numbers

Footloose is a musical about a town that rediscovers the need for dance and music, and Griffin and Angulo do not disappoint in bringing that theme to life on the stage.

Holding Out for a Hero takes place towards the middle of Act One, and features the Reverend’s daughter Ariel (Lucy Godinez), and her two friends Rusty (Monica Ramirez) and Urleen (Keirsten Hodgens) daydreaming about their hopes of finding the perfect man in the dead-end town. We are at Burger Blast, the local teen hangout, and as they start to sing, the surrounding ensemble freezes. Ariel, Urleen, and Rusty pick up surrounding ketchup and mustard bottles to use as microphones, and suddenly we, the audience, are thrust into their fantasy world. Slowly the ensemble unfreezes, and move tables around to allow for dancing and moving the girls about as they build on the daydreams. Godinez, Ramirez, and Hodgens wow us with their vocal belts, and fill the piece with a sweet, yet upbeat energy you may even find yourself verbally rooting for at its conclusion.

Almost Paradise is a little slower tempo, but no less striking – particularly when combined with the design elements. This is a hopeful, romantic scene between Ren and Ariel who finally find themselves with a moment alone. They make their way to the bridge that started the town’s troubles, and metal railings descend from above. Twinkle lights slowly turn on, creating a ripple effect surrounded by shades of blue and green, creating the image of a river below. Wharton and Godinez already share a sweet chemistry that inspires a hope for the couple to succeed, and as they start to sing in the midst of Lighting Designer Jesse Klug’s creations, the impact is breathtaking.

Inspiring the Love of the Crowd

Ren inspires the town to finally release a tragedy and find their freedom – along with the help of the other high school students whom he befriends. Griffin has done more than masterfully create an ensemble that inspires each other on the stage. We in the audience feel it too

Similarly we get hooked by the Let’s Hear it for the Boy scene when Rusty, Ariel, Ren, and his best friend Willard (Ben Barker, with an adorable and sweet stage presence) sneak off to a club 100 miles outside of town so they can dance. When Willard admits that he cannot dance, Rusty starts to sing, and creates the perfect environment for him to learn to move his feet. It’s upbeat and fun, and Ramirez wows us yet again with her vibrato. However, the excitement does not stop there – as the club joins in to offer that encouragement to Willard, Ariel and Ren invite the audience to clap along.

The Opening Night audience did not hold back, and before we knew it, the entire packed house was applauding for Willard’s victory. This writer has seen quite a few musicals in her time, but rarely has she seen so many in an audience jump on board so willingly to root for the ensemble’s success. The impact truly speaks to what Griffin and his ensemble have created.

Packed with hope and fun, Footloose the Musical is an event to experience. Taking a look at the world around us, maybe we can all use a little of Ren’s inspiration.