Footloose set to be a sell­out

The Tribune (NZ) - - MONTHLY EVENTS CALENDAR INSIDE -

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.

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