Marriott's 'Footloose' Will Kickstart Your Spring With Love And Joy!
I had a blast enjoying this production of ‘Footloose the Musical’ based on the 1984 movie starring Kevin Bacon and so did the opening night audience who roared their approval and stopped the show after the rousing rendition by Ariel played with real sass and excitement by Lucy Godinez of "Holding out for a Hero." I had a blast enjoying this production of ‘Footloose the Musical’ based on the 1984 movie starring Kevin Bacon and so did the opening night audience who roared their approval and stopped the show after the rousing rendition by Ariel played with real sass and excitement by Lucy Godinez of "Holding out for a Hero."
Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where's the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?
Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and I turn
And I dream of what I need
I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night
He's gotta be strong
And he's gotta be fastAnd he's gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light
He's gotta be sure
And it's gotta be soon
And he's gotta be larger than life!
Larger than life
Somewhere after midnight
In my wildest fantasy
Somewhere just beyond my reach
There's someone reaching back for me
Racing on the thunder and rising with the heat
It's gonna take a superman to sweep me off my feet
This production of Footloose the Musical directed with fantastic energy and humorous insight by Gary Griffin is the PERFECT show to see right now for young and old alike because it is all about real love and communication and doing the right thing in your own hometown even if there is opposition on all sides.
The surface storyline is about a small town whose church leaders have banned dancing following a fatal car crash following a school dance.
Of course, the show is about dancing and there is AMAZING dancing choreographed with great sexiness and joy by William Carlos Angulo throughout this show.
Aidan Wharton plays Ren, the kid who comes from Chicago and creates a stir throughout the town when he lobbies for the right to dance. With wonderful unabashed enthusiasm and a skilled dancer, Wharton is an even better dancer than he is a singer and that's okay because this show needs Ren to be a super-natural standout on the dance floor.
This show is all about teenagers falling in love and dancing and being footloose and fancy free for the first time in a long time. In small towns when this play took place people were often wed to their first loves, so relationships between teens were highly monitored.
When Ren arrives in the small town from bustling Chicago the local kids warn him that "eyes are everywhere” and that every move they make is dissected day and night. There is no place to escape this scrutiny and even explore their own feelings for each other - like a dance party.
This somber and slightly scary dance number really reflects how many teens today feel about growing up in the internet age. They are feeling the constant pressure " to post...or not to post" and either way people are watching them and if they post the wrong thing or don't post anything at all. People are still judging them 24/7 often finding their lives and actions lacking.
Ren tells everyone he sees that he is restless and can't stop moving, so he dances around all the time - which makes him seem weird or suspect in itself to those observing him for the first time in this reserved town.
At one point the adorable country nerd and bumpkin Willard Hewitt played (delightfully by character actor Ben Barker) says to Ren in distress about his new hope for a girlfriend - "She scares me! She is the fastest talking woman I've ever met!" Ren says honestly to reassure the awkward Willard, "She talks fast ‘cause she LIKES you! She's just horny for ya!" Ben is insecure because he can’t dance, but later there is a fantastic bit of physical comedy by Ben Barker as he learns that he really CAN dance with his new girlfriend, all he needs is rhythm, sway and a little loving encouragement from Ren and the other kids.
Ariel, the town pastor’s daughter, is involved with the town bad boy Chuck Cranston (Ryan McBride) who is slightly mean to her and pushes her around when she doesn't want to follow him. Chuck claims he is the "best time to be had in this tiny town” and demands that Ariel follow him into his truck whenever new teen Ren is in sight. The chemistry between Ren and Ariel is obvious from the first time they see each other.
Ryan McBride is a dead ringer for the actor Andy Samberg (but even better looking) and has a similarly wry sense of comic timing. McBride is also a solid singer/dancer and stands out well in this production.
Lucy Godinez is a great singer and actress with real fire in her eyes. Godinez plays Ariel as a strong, independent woman who has a secure sense of her own blossoming sexuality even though her father is the highly judgmental and protective Reverend Moore.
Johanna McKenzie Miller as Ariel's mother, Vi Moore, is stunningly intelligent in her role as always and emits an essence of spiritual peacefulness that lends the whole play an anchor of calm, and quiet belief in her daughter and in others to do the right thing for ALL in the end.
To me it is obvious that Ren's character is very much a Christ figure of hope and change in this show. Ren appears without warning in the small town where dancing has been banned by the elders for several years, yet he is so FULL of life and joy that he can't STOP dancing!
At the crucial moment of judgement by the town as to whether they will allow dancing again, several quotes about the very positive nature of dancing itself are read to the council members from the Bible by Ren in Christ-like fashion:
Psalm 149:3 Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!
Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance
Psalm 30:11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness
Jeremiah 31:13 Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them and give them gladness for sorrow.
The whole show reminded me how important dancing really is in relation to feeling a sense of love and joy in your daily life. Director Gary Griffin mentions in the press kit that he chose this show in part due to the current oppressive and depressing political climate especially for young people, which is mirrored in 'Footloose.'
Dancing is a thing I rarely take the time to do anymore publicly or privately and being reminded in such a colorful and glorious way by this production that dancing is actually "prescribed" as a healthy form of activity by God makes me want to dance around the best I can!
Highly recommended for all ages. I suggest you see this show and get your Spring on!