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W.T. Woodson High School Footloose

By • Nov 10th, 2008 • Category: Cappies

Dancing may be against the law in the small town of Bomont, but at W.T. Woodson High School it seems like just the thing to do on a Saturday night! Footloose, is being performed by the students of Woodson on November 7, 8, 14 and 15, as they hope to share this upbeat, youthful music with audiences of all ages.

Footloose had its beginnings as a motion picture, released in 1984, and was later adapted suit the stage. Opening on Broadway in 1998, it ran for about two years, until 2000. Since that time, the production has gone on a number of national tours in both the US and the UK. This play presents catchy and varied music, created by Tom Snow and others, as well as book, by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie, which brings audience members along on the emotional journeys of the characters.

The play starts out with Ren McCormack (Brendan Rice) who, with his single mother, Ethal (Jaimie Appleton), is moving out of vibrant Chicago and into the über religious town of Bomont. Ren quickly learns that dancing has been outlawed and is determined to change this. Reverend Shaw (Max Wollner), Principal Harry Clark (Emily Vanni) and townsfolk write Ren off as a troublemaker. However, the real trouble begins when he falls for the preacher’s rebellious daughter, Ariel (Kirsten Salpini).

Choreography was the grounding feature for this show. It was spot on and entirely student original, by Sam Melvin and Sara Persily. The production also shone in regard to other technical aspects: The set design, although make-shift due to the high school’s ongoing construction, was simple but very effective. And even with minimal set changes, the set crew did a stellar job of moving props on and off stage quickly.

The leads, Kirsten Salpini and Brendan Rice, both acted out well-developed characters and gave a moving performance of “Almost Paradise” in the second act. Strong vocals were seen by leading, as well as many supporting actors, including Luke Savoca, Mia Savoca and Jaimie Appleton.

Robert Moorman and Alyssa Easterly gave the audience that necessary comic relief in the form of the goofy country couple, Willard and Rusty. There was a great cameo appearance by Megan Kearney, that was comical and memorable. Although no specialty makeup was used to make adult characters look aged, the skilled acting on the part of these performers still made them believable to the audience.

The pit orchestra, Mr. E Street Band, was a small group with an impressive sound. Their music was just the right volume, allowing all of the performers’ voices to be heard even with a few minor sound problems where microphones cut in and out. The overall audio balance was good, and the musical numbers stood out as highlights of the show.

The cast of Footloose put their best feet forward in terms of singing, dancing, acting and the whole package. This show is worth a second viewing, if just to re-witness and experience the energy given off by the hard-working cast and crew.

by Leah Samuelson of Annandale High School

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