Ethan Davenport (Ren McCormack), Angela Steele (Ariel Moore), and Erin Nicole Farsté (Rusty) with the cast of Artistry’s Footloose, which opens tomorrow at the Bloomington Center for the Arts. Photo by Devon Cox.
Artistry’s Footloose opens tomorrow at the Bloomington Center for the Arts. This musical (based on the 1984 film of the same name) about a teen dancing craze colliding with conservative religious values opened on Broadway back in 1998.
Depending on your age, 1998 might seem an age past or not too long ago. Footloose was much-talked about by high school theatre kids when it came out, capitalizing on a heady mix of nostalgia, high-energy songs on the soundtrack (e.g., “Let’s Hear It For the Boy”), and a growing craze for dance-centered musicals. Footloose was an early favorite in the 1999 Tony Awards voting, but lost to the critically acclaimed Fosse (an entirely different sort of retro dance musical) and Parade.
The musical Footloose features a score by Tom Snow, lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and a book by Pitchford and Walter Bobbie. Snow had written “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” for the movie soundtrack, and took a break from penning hits for artists like Barbra Streisand and Linda Ronstadt to write the stage musical. Artistry’s production is directed by Benjamin McGovern, with musical direction by Anita Ruth and choreography by Heidi Spesard-Noble.
Ethan Davenport stars as the dance-obsessed Ren McCormack, who immediately butts heads with the Reverend Shaw Moore (Paul R. Coate) over dancing escapades and his daughter Ariel (Angela Moore). The rest of the plot can be summed up in collisions around the script’s most-quoted line, “Dancing is not a crime!” Here’s what the Artistry production looks like:
Artistry’s production of Footloose runs July 19-August 18 at the Bloomington Center for the Arts’ Schneider Theater.