LEWISBURG — Director Justin Hill encouraged his Lewisburg Area High School cast of “Footloose, the Musical” to pick up the pace, increase the confidence level, and to “sell” each move during Monday night’s rehearsal, as it may be the last run-through before Wednesday. Inclement weather may curtail the second to last rehearsal for the show, he noted.
“Footloose, the Musical” marks the 52nd year that LAHS will present a spring musical for the community. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the LAHS auditorium. Tickets can be purchased online at www.lewsiburgmusical.org and at the door on the night of each show.
The cast responded to Hill’s direction straight away, with a well-sung and tightly choreographed opening number, the familiar “Footloose” theme which eased right into the more spiritual “On Any Sunday.”
Hill and Lynn Berg teamed up on the direction for the show, choreographed by Alycia English and Jenna Swartz. Parents also brought invaluable expertise to the production, helping out with set building, costume and technical matters.
The production features 125 students, including 49 on stage, 66 in the cast and 10 in the pit orchestra.
The stage show was based on the film “Footloose” (1984) which featured Kevin Bacon, and has had long runs on stages in New York and London, as well as tours through the United States and Britain.
Nate Reid (Ren McCormack) plays the role made familiar by Bacon and said it was hard not think of his performance, but he added a twist or two.
“I definitely played with some of the mannerisms he had and added my own from my life as well,” said Reid, an LAHS senior.
Libby King (Ariel Moore), a senior, was on the LAHS stage seven years ago with some of this year’s cast mates in “The Sound of Music.”
“Musical is my favorite time of year,” she said. “There is a lot to learn, so I have to keep my voice in good shape.”
There was plenty to learn, King added, and hoped she was doing a good job. Learning to dance proved to be a challenge.
“The choreography was the hardest part for me, because I am not a trained dancer,” she added. “But it is fun to learn, and I get to learn more about dance overall through doing this.”
Jacob Roman (the Rev. Shaw Moore) saw his role as the pastor who banned dancing in a small American town as symbolic of all the obstacles faced by McCormack.
“We don’t actually combat, but the things that I stand for are the what really get in his way, until the very end when we have sort of a cathartic moment,” Roman said of his character.
Roman said stories or rebellion in the face of authority are nearly universal.
“You have a place that is set in its ways...that needs to be stirred up by some sort of outside force,” he said. “It is a very common theme in all sorts of art, in books and movies.”
Evan Armstrong, an LAHS sophomore, appeared with Ryan Kelleher and Cole Mossel, in the chorus and said he was familiar with the movie, but not the stage show.
“The plot line is very similar,” noted the veteran of last year’s musical. “But obviously with the introduction of (musical numbers), some things change.”
Armstrong said people at school are eagerly anticipating the performances at the end of the week.
Other cast members included Jack Temple (Willard Hewitt), Austin Duclos (Chuck Cranston), Rachel Zigler (Rusty), Grace Kenny (Vi Moore), Jenna Farmer (Wendy Jo), Hannah Koss (Urleen) and Elke Velz (Ethel McCormack).
It is strongly recommended that tickets be purchase in advance.
Staff Writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.