It's 1978, Ren McCormack (Adrian Wharton), a big city boy, finds himself in small town America with all of its perceived trappings and no way to escape.
If that isn't bad enough, he soon finds out, Bomont, the town where he's moved has a ban on music and dancing of any kind.
"Footloose", based loosely on the true story of Elmore City, a town in Oklahoma where it was said “If the South is the Bible belt, then we are the buckle,” begs the question, what's a teenager to do with all these rules and no dance?
Along the way, we learn what drives the teens and the grown-ups--their fears, their dreams and desires that are typical of human nature everywhere.
And, no surprise, Ren starts to fall for a girl named Ariel (Lucy Godinez) who is the town minister’s daughter--just to complicate things a little further.
The story is played out through a series of high energy dance routines and 80’s hit songs including “Footloose”, “Let’s Hear it For the Boy”,” “Almost Paradise”, “Holding Out For a Hero” and more.
"Footloose" first came to life in 1984 as a film starring Kevin Bacon as Ren and Lori Singer as Ariel, before it opened in the theatre on Broadway in 1998 where it ran for two years and has been running pretty much somewhere ever since. Interestingly it’s in the top 20 most produced high school musicals.
Jeff Award-winning Gary Griffin directs the Marriott production of teenage rebellion that celebrates life through music and dance. Jeff Award-winning choreographer William Carlos Angulo brings dance to life in the round, with musical direction by Jeff Award winner Ryan T. Nelson.
“I believe this musical is the most relevant production to be working on right now,” says Griffin. “We, as humans, think there is such a divide among us and that we are all so different. Dance and music is a way to connect, celebrate life and cope with loss. It is wonderfully universal, and the divide we imagine is really just an illusion.”
In addition to Aidan Wharton as “Ren McCormack” (Marriott debut! Berkshire Theatre Group: Hair; Pioneer Theatre Company: Mamma Mia!; Sharon Playhouse: Big River) and Lucy Godinez as “Ariel” (Marriott debut! Porchlight Music Theater: In the Heights; Paramount Theater: Legally Blonde), Footloose features Jim Stanek as Reverend Shaw Moore (Marriott debut! Broadway: Fun Home, Gentleman’s Guide, Little Women, Funny Thing…Forum), Heidi Kettenring as “Ethel McCormack” (Marriott Theatre: My Fair Lady, The King and I, Little Women, Funny Girl), and Johanna McKenzie Miller as “Vi Moore” (Marriott: Oklahoma!, October Sky, Holiday Inn), with Ben Barker as “Willard Hewitt,” Ryan McBride as “Chuck Cranston,” and Monica Ramirez as “Rusty.”
The production also features set design by Scott Davis, costume design by Anna Wooden, lighting design by Jesse Klug, sound design by Bob Gilmartin, media design by Liviu Pasare, properties design by Sally Zack, and musical supervision by Patti Garwood.
Rating “Footloose” (3 stars)
When: Through June 2
Where: Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire
Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Tickets: $50-$60 at 847-634-0200 or www.marriotttheatre.com
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Filed under: Theater in Chicago