Footloose set to be a sellout
A successful movie has become a successful musical which both Palmerston North Boys’ High and Girls’ High intend to become a sell-out production in March. This year’s senior production is Footloose which will run from March 16-25 in The Speirs Centre.
Footloose, the 1980s hit movie and musical, tells the story of teenager, Ren McCormack, and his mother, Ethel, who move from urban Chicago to Bomont, in America’s rural south. Like the wall President Trump is building between the US and Mexico, Bomont also has a wall.
It’s symbolic. The town council, influenced by their Baptist Pastor, has banned dancing following a road accident which killed four teenagers. But the influence is evident in the repressive social structure and relationships in the community.
Ren is confronted by Bible Belt thinking but, together with Ariel who he meets, attempts to change attitudes and, in turn, has his own modified.
Director Chris Burton describes the show as very relevant ‘‘especially where we see a swing to the right in attitudes with people building walls rather than breaking them down resulting in less communication rather than more.’’
‘‘In Footloose the audience will see the stand-off between adults and teenagers and the way it’s resolved where sometimes there’s no clear right and wrong. It’s a great show in the way it looks at human behaviour under pressure.’’
Auditions for Footloose were held in October with rehearsals beginning almost immediately. Of the 90 students who auditioned, 63 were cast as principals, supporting leads or in ensemble roles.
‘‘It’s one of the biggest companies I’ve ever worked with,’’ Chris says.
The musical is blessed with a superb musical score. Several numbers such as Footloose, Let’s Hear It For the Boy, Almost Paradise and Holding Out for a Hero were big hits of the era.
Leading the student cast are Josiah Nevell as Ren, Anya Darby as Ariel, Kyle Dahl as Revd Moore, Amy McLaren as Vi Moore and Katie Atkins as Rusty.
Chris says Footloose is visually superb with great songs and fine harmonies, fantastic choreography and high energy ‘‘from a fabulous cast.’’ He sees his challenge in bringing a huge cast and chorus together to create a tight family group and cohesive show but, with such a talented group, he knows Footloose will be a winner.
Footloose is musically directed by Paul Dredge, with vocal director, Kirsten Clark and choreographer, Cara Hesselin.
Chris Burton prepares for the 2017 production of Footloose.