Stage Adaptation by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie
Based on the original screenplay by Dean Pitchford
Music by Tom Snow
Lyrics by Dean Pitchford
Additional Music by Eric Carmen, Sammy Hagar, Kenny Loggins and Jim Steinman
August 19th - September 5
Producer -- Barbara Pfitzenmayer
Director -- Jack von Behren
Music Director -- Carol Wilcox Schein
Choreographer -- Taryn Noelle
Stage Manager -- Gennie Frey
Rehearsal Pianist -- Carol Wilcox Schein
Costumes -- Barbara Pfitzenmayer
Lighting Design -- Don Mersereau
Sound Design -- Nate Venet
Set Construction -- Brian Stearns
Set Painting and Decoration -- Claudia McLane
Properties -- Evelyn Frey
If you have seen the movie "Footloose," you were struck by the award-winning soundtrack that played in the background of this 80's film. Even if you haven't seen the movie, you're probably familiar with many of the songs, including Let's Hear It For The Boy (Deniece Williams), Almost Paradise (Mike Reno and Ann Wilson), Holding Out For A Hero (Bonnie Tyler), Somebody's Eyes (Karla Bonoff), The Girl Gets Around (Sammy Hagar) as well as I'm Free and Footloose (by Kenny Loggins).
Unfortunately, there is not much more to admire in the movie, as any meaningful characters and plot have been overshadowed by Hollywood's need to celebrate young people behaving badly. Thus, you will not get a feel for the show by watching the movie.
Interestingly, the musical version was created after the movie. It brilliantly incorporates all the wonderful pop/ rock songs listed above into the script, so they are sung by the characters as part of the story. Another half-dozen or so songs were composed to fill out the score of this show.
The story embraces a pivotal period in a small town racked by recent tragedy . . . a pivotal decision to be made by a loving but heavy-handed father and minister . . . a pivotal law to be reconsidered by town fathers who wish they knew the right thing to do . . . and an extraordinarily frustrating experience for a likable teen who can no longer have the life he liked, and who can't like the life he now has.
A group of Chicago teens have gathered to dance off the stress of their work day (Footloose) and to say goodbye to their friend Ren McCormack. Ren's father has walked out, so he and his mother Ethel are forced to move in with her sister's family in Bomont, a small Midwestern town that nobody in Chicago has ever heard of!
Once there, Ren and Ethel attend church and get their first glimpse of Reverend Shaw Moore, a conservative minister who is the authority figure in town (On Any Sunday). After a sermon lambasting the evils of rock and roll music and its "endless chant of pornography," the Reverend's daughter Ariel runs off to meet her tough-guy boyfriend Chuck. Along with Chuck's cronies Travis and Lyle, they sing a spirited song about their relationship (The Girl Gets Around). While they embrace, the Reverend shows up and catches Chuck with his hands around his daughter, much to his chagrin.
The next day, Ren shows up for school and becomes friends with Willard Hewitt. Ren tells him about the dancing he used to do in Chicago (I Can't Stand Still), but ends up learning the hard way that dancing is illegal in the town of Bomont. Ariel's best friends Rusty, Urleen and Wendy Jo explain that the ban on dancing followed a tragic car accident several years ago when some teens were returning from a dance. They warn him to keep a low profile unless he wants to get into even more trouble than he already is (Somebody's Eyes). This haunting song involves most of the Townsfolk in vignettes depicting Ren's knack for attracting trouble.
At home, Ariel and her father experience another of their frustrating attempts at conversation. Exasperated, she leaves the room in a huff, leaving the Reverend and his wife, Vi, alone to bicker over her. When Vi attempts to assure Shaw that Ariel's fling with Chuck will soon cool down, he silences her and storms off to finish writing his sermon. Vi, Ethel, and Ariel each individually express frustration that no one ever listens to them (Learning To Be Silent).
After school, several students go to the Burger Blast. Ariel, Rusty, Urleen and Wendy Jo are doing homework while Willard talks to Ren, who has gotten a job there as a waiter. When Ren takes Ariel's order, she flirts with him. Willard warns Ren that Chuck would be very unhappy if Ren were to become involved with Ariel. She, meanwhile, is fantasizing about finding a decent guy (Holding Out for a Hero). This song is done as the teens' fantasy of a girl-group show tune! Chuck shows up in a fury and starts to yell at Ariel. Ren and Willard come to her defense, but it is Betty Blast, the owner of the restaurant, who breaks up the fight.
After Ren gets off work, Ariel takes him to her secret place by the train tracks where she discusses her hatred of Bomont. Unbeknownst to them, Chuck witnesses the pair together. Afterwards, Ren walks her home where he unwittingly insults her father, making an already bad situation even more awkward. Shaw orders Ariel to stop seeing Ren, and she retorts that he is making her feel like a prisoner. After a fed-up daughter and wife storm off in a rage, Shaw begins to feel a pang of guilt, pondering whether or not he is being fair with his daughter while considering the weighty task of being both a preacher and a father (Heaven Help Me). At the close of the scene, we see Chuck, Travis and Lyle preparing to beat up Ren in retaliating for walking Ariel home.
Ren shows up late for school the next day with Ariel and Willard, explaining that he was jumped by Chuck, but the teacher won't listen. Ren laments that the citizens of Bomont are so "wound up," muttering that at least in Chicago he could dance in times of stress. He realizes that throwing a dance would be the perfect way to alleviate the teenagers' pressures, while making a statement to Reverend Moore and the town council. Willard tells Ren that he is insane, but Ren won't listen and reveals his plan to all of the students, eventually winning them over. Reverend Shaw hears of the plan for a dance and, as the one responsible for banning it to begin with, is determined to do anything within his power to ensure that it does not happen (I'm Free/Heaven Help Me).
Ren, Ariel, Willard, and Rusty go to a town miles away from Bomont where there is a dance hall, complete with Country music. Rusty repeatedly attempts to dance with Willard, but he weasels his way out, dragging Ren off to get drinks. He explains to Ren that he doesn't know how to dance. Rusty overhears them, and so do several cowboys, who begin to mock Willard. Rusty comes to his defense, saying that he might not be perfect, but she loves him anyway (Let's Hear it for the Boy). During Rusty's song, Ren tries to teach Willard to dance. After much initial stumbling and apprehension, Willard finally learns some good steps, much to Rusty's surprise.
When Ren brings Ariel home, Shaw is angry with her for seeing Ren. He almost hits her, but he stops himself and Ariel runs from the house. Vi tells him that he is too hard on Ariel because of the way he feels about their son . . . who was one of the teens killed in the tragic car accident years ago (Can You Find it in Your Heart?).
Ren, Willard, and their friends are working on a way to approach the Town Council about rescinding the ban on dancing. Ren gets discouraged and considers forgetting the whole idea, but Willard gives him some advice from his mother in a show-stoppingly-funny song (Mama Says). Ariel shows up with a black eye and tells them that Chuck beat her up. Willard and his friends go off to find Chuck, and Ren comforts Ariel. The two have a heart-to-heart talk, and Ariel gives Ren a Bible with various passages marked to help him make his proposal to the Town Council. It is then they realize they've fallen in love (Almost Paradise).
At the Town Council meeting, Ren explains that dancing is written about in the Bible and should not be illegal. The Council members don't listen and the motion is dismissed. After the meeting, Ren's mother explains that Shaw had those votes locked no matter what, and she suggests that Ren go talk to him one on one. He does, and explains to Reverend Moore that he should not take his anguish about his son's death out on the entire town. They argue, but when Ren points out that they're both dealing with loss -- Rev. Moore's loss of his son, Ren's loss of his father -- they realize a common bond . . . though they still disagree. After Ren leaves, Shaw struggles with what to do (Heaven Help Me-Reprise).
At the next church service, Shaw tells the congregation that he is going to allow the teenagers to hold a dance. They are overjoyed and prepare for the dance. When alone, Shaw tells Vi how much he loves her and how he has made many mistakes in the past (Can You Find It In Your Heart?-Reprise).
And so, for the first time in years, the young people of Bomont are able to dance freely, and as everyone joins in, the evening becomes not only a celebration, but an ecstatic expression of healing (Footloose - Finale).
Ren McCormack is seen as a rebel always getting into trouble, but at heart he is an energetic young man who is dealing with the pain of his father's absence. He expresses this pain through his quirky sarcasm . . . and by dancing. Ren sings lead in "I Can't Stand Still," "I'm Free," and "Almost Paradise." He is a strong, flashy mover/dancer.
Ariel Moore is the preacher's daughter. At first glimpse she's perfect: perky, energetic, and witty. Look closer and you will see that she is her father's worst nightmare: strong-willed, sharp-tongued, and aware of her sensuality. Ariel sings lead in "The Girl Gets Around," "Learning To Be Silent," "Holding Out For A Hero," and "Almost Paradise."
Rusty, Urleen, and Wendy Jo are Ariel's three best friends . . . each a character in her own way. They sing lead or strong choral parts in "Somebody's Eyes," and "Holding Out For A Hero;" Rusty sings lead in "Let's Hear It For The Boy."
Willard Hewitt is a cowboy with an interesting philosophy and a big heart. He befriends Ren and shows him the ropes in Bomont. Willard sings lead in "Mama Says."
Chuck Cranston is a motorcycle riding, foul-mouthed tough guy who takes one look at Ren and realizes that there's only room for one bad boy in this town. He is dating the one girl that Ren has an interest in: Ariel. Chuck sings lead in "The Girl Gets Around."
Lyle and Travis are Chuck's wanna-be-bad-guys friends. They sing backup in "The Girl Gets Around."
Bickle, Garvin and Jeter are Willard's entourage. They sing backup in "Mama Says."
Various other Bomont teens* sing and dance in "Footloose," "Somebody's Eyes," "I'm Free," and "Footloose - Finale."
Reverend Shaw Moore is the most powerful figure in Bomont. He is a stern, strict man with a booming voice who runs the town with an iron fist. He also has a tender side and is struggling with the loss of his son and his concern for his daughter's rebelliousness. Shaw sings lead in "On Any Sunday," "Heaven Help Me," and "Can You Find It In Your Heart (reprise)."
Vi Moore is the duty-bound preacher's wife whose loving heart holds her family together after its terrible loss. She is potentially the real moral force in Bomont, by example of her strong silent character. Vi sings lead in "Learning To Be Silent," and "Can You Find It In Your Heart?"
Ethel McCormack is Ren's mother. She is a strong-willed, witty, outspoken single parent who would do anything for her son. Ethel sings lead in "Learning To Be Silent."
Townspeople (roles may be doubled): Cowboy Bob, Principal Clark, Betty Blast, Irene, Town Cop, Eleanor Dunbar, Coach Dunbar, Wes Warnicker, Lulu Warnicker. They sing in "On Any Sunday," "Somebody's Eyes," and "Heaven Help Me;" and sing and dance in "Footloose - Finale."
Jack von Behren - Director - 244 4176 - email@example.com
Carol Wilcox Schein - Music Director - 244 4176 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Taryn Noelle - Choreographer - 917 364 0133 - email@example.com
Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
- Ren McCormack -- Brad Enos
Ethel McCormack -- Brenda Lazarovich
Reverend Shaw Moore -- Roy Cutler
Vi Moore -- Jo Sabel Courtney
Ariel Moore -- Taryn Noelle
Lulu Warnicker -- Sandy Lewis
Wes Warnicker -- Dan Krymkowski
Coach Dunbar -- Michael Jarvis
Eleanor Dunbar -- Betsy Jaffe
Rusty -- Amelia Munson
Urleen -- Bianca Rizzio
Wendy Jo -- Tessa Eisenberg
Chuck Cranston -- Josh Hain
- Lyle Matthew -- Shepardson
Travis, Cowboy Bob -- Matt Pierce
- Betty Blast -- Donna Sue Hain
Willard Hewitt -- Sam Cutler
Jeter -- Josh Trowbridge
Bickle -- Zach Robinson
Garvin -- Asa Carter
Principal Clark -- Tanya Carter
Sara Parker -- Holly Lalime
Cassie -- Ashley Creighton
Shilah Stone -- Noele Leavey
Kitty Johnson -- Elizabeth Waller
Charlotte Murphy -- Emma Stein
Lori -- Rosemary Moore
Bob Lenew Flander -- Owen Leavey
Tub Watson -- Sam Parker