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April 2, 2008 > Rompin', stompin' good time with Footloose

Rompin', stompin' good time with Footloose

Submitted By Jay Coleman

Ren McCormack is a typical 1980s high school student. He likes cool cars, loud music and expressing himself, particularly on the dance floor. That's fine in big-city Chicago, but when Ren and his mom, Ethel, move to small-town Bomont - where dancing is banned! - Ren is looked on as the town trouble maker and finds himself in the center of controversy.

If this all sounds familiar, you probably remember the 1984 hit movie Footloose, which proved to be a break-out role for actor Kevin Bacon. Tri-City residents can see the equally upbeat stage version, April 10-20, when the Irvington Conservatory Theatre (ICT) presents the Footloose musical at Irvington High School in Fremont.

Sponsored by Ohlone College, this version of Footloose, a multiple Tony Award-winning show when first seen on the Broadway stage in 1998, features more songs and more dancing than the movie from an ensemble cast of more than 40 actors, singers and dancers. The Irvington production stars ICT favorite Kenta Naoi as Ren McCormack. Naoi's acrobatic skills and pleasant voice make him a natural for the role. (Irvington regulars will remember him as Toad in The Wind in the Willows and the lead role in last spring's The Cat in the Hat).

Ethel McCormack (Carla West Snowden, one of six adults in the production) tries to assure Ren that things will be OK, but his real support comes from his cowboy boot-wearing, non-dancing friend Willard Hewitt (Brett Jensen) and his attractive high school classmate Ariel Moore (Elizabeth Nye). Ariel is a bit of a rebel herself because she lives under the heavy hand of her father, Reverend Shaw Moore (Irvington High School math teacher Gary Leinweber), who leads the effort to keep dancing out of Bomont (Reverend Moore's son was killed in a tragic car wreck years earlier following a dance, and thus the town's ban on dancing). How Ren convinces Reverend Shaw and the town of Bomont to lift the ban is the highlight of the kick-up-your-heels show.

If you liked the movie, you'll love the stage version of "Footloose," which includes an Oscar-nominated, Top 40 score and songs such as "Footloose" and "Let's hear it for the Boy."

Artistic Director Linda Jackson-Whitmore has assembled another solid troupe of actors, dancers and musicians, and a production crew that includes Choreographer Lauren Benjamin, Vocal Director Diana Joly, Musical Conductor Charlie Rodda, Scenic Designer Fred Alim, Technical Director Caresse Loski, Lighting Designer Evan Grant, Costume Designers Evan Boomer and Katie Whitaker, and Costumers Audrey Walker and Elizabeth Whitaker.

The stage adaptation was by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie, based on the Pitchford's original screenplay. Music is by Tom Snow with lyrics by Pitchford. Additional music was composed by Eric Carmen, Sammy Hagar, Kenny Loggins and Jim Steinman.

Tickets are $15 general admission, $12 for students with ASB cards, and $10 for seniors and children under 12, and may be purchased online at www.irvingtonconservatory.org or by calling (510) 657-5711, ext. 46423.

Footloose
Thursdays, April 10 and 17
7 p.m. - all tickets 50 percent off

Fridays and Saturdays, April 11, 12, 18 and 19
8 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday matinees
April 12, 13, 19 and 20
2 p.m.

The April 18 performance includes American Sign Language for the hearing impaired.

Irvington High School
41800 Blacow Road., Fremont
(510) 657-5711, ext. 46423
www.irvingtonconservatory.org

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