Assessment: “Footloose” at “Theater by the Sea” | Leisure


I wasn’t within the temper to look in public or entertain myself after the horrible information from the Supreme Court docket final Friday, however we had tickets to see The Free, the second present of the season on the Theater by the Sea, so off we went. in Matunuk. Zounds, I am glad we did!

I’m completely happy to report that I left the theater in a a lot better place than once I arrived, because of the proficient artistic group who labored splendidly collectively to create a enjoyable present stuffed with click on, pop, pop and many weird footsteps.

What a testomony to the therapeutic energy of artwork!

To my delight, the manufacturing went effectively past its description as “an exuberant, high-energy musical” and included uncommon dancing, very good performing, and, apparently sufficient, some uplifting, uplifting messages.

Folks can behave badly – typically with anger and bitterness – particularly when they’re harm, mourn and undergo loss, however kindness, love and an open coronary heart can conquer all the pieces – that is simply one of many morals of this story.

Second, pleasure—pure, candy pleasure—generally is a fantastic therapeutic agent. One other? Dancing is all the time enjoyable and might help banish the boredom.

Some might keep in mind the 1984 movie Unfastened, starring a younger Kevin Bacon, which was later tailored for the Broadway stage with a e book by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobby and lyrics by Pitchford and Kenny Loggins, with a rating together with songs corresponding to “Nearly Paradise” “Let’s Hear for the Boy” and “Maintain on to the Hero”.

A bit apart – I used to be so engrossed within the musical’s historical past that I dug a bit deeper and found that Unfastened is predicated on a real story concerning the small city of Elmore Metropolis, Oklahoma. When Elmore Excessive College seniors wished to plan a promenade in 1979, the town confronted a social disaster: a late 1800s ordinance forbade dancing inside metropolis limits, which was in opposition to the regulation.

However again to the musical and manufacturing Theater by the Sea, the place the harmless, wide-eyed—and glorious—J.P. Qualters makes his debut as Ren McCormack, a plucky teenager who strikes from Chicago to a conservative rural Bible Belt city after his dying. the daddy will get up and walks away from him and his mother, Ethel (Kristen Geling, who additionally makes her theater debut, is excellent).

Mom and son transfer in with Ethel’s sister, Lulu (Daybreak Tucker), and son-in-law (James Andrew Walsh) and shortly discover out that they’ve arrived in a metropolis filled with depressed and disgruntled residents who’ve determined to inflict their struggling on others (who is aware of such individuals?)

After Ren realizes that dancing and rock and roll are unlawful, he begins arguing with the Reverend. Shaw Moore (Matthew J. Taylor provides a strong and poignant efficiency), a preacher who misplaced his solely son in an accident and has been mourning and strongly against dancing ever since.

When Wren falls in love with the preacher’s rebellious daughter Ariel (Emma Wilcox – unimaginable energy), sparks fly.

As Ren does his finest to unfold the gospel of pleasure, he meets the shy and awkward Willard Hewitt (Ethan James Lynch is completely matched and delivers an exquisite, touching efficiency with some sudden strikes) and runs into Ariel’s aggressive boyfriend. , Chuck Cranston (James Cloud).

Among the many present’s standout musical moments is an incredible efficiency by Candice Haynes, who performs Ariel’s buddy, Rusty. Sami Murphy as Ariel’s buddy, Wendy Jo, is simply superior. Melanie Souza as Betty Blast, Tom Warren as Coach Dunbar, Ellen Peterson as Principal Dunbar and Aimee Doherty as Wee Moore deserve credit score, as do the costumes for Mikayla Reed and the stage design for Kyle Dixon.

Bob Richard and Diane Laurenson, a married couple who acted as director and choreographer, and Nathan Urdangen, who made his debut as a musical director within the theater, additionally deserve applause.

And one other message from “Footloose?” Battle for rights, individuals, combat for freedom!


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