Imagine a place where dancing is illegal and "Somebody's Eyes" are always watching if you are out of line! Springside Chestnut Hill Academy Players brought vivacity to the well-loved production, Footloose.
Footloose tells the story of Ren McCormack, a rebellious city boy who "Can't Stand Still" in conservative, rural Bomont, where dancing is banned. Despite his initial isolation, Ren is able to revive the innocuous enjoyment of dancing and bring light to this traditional town. The show, originally a blockbuster smash in 1984, was adapted for Broadway in 1998.
The effervescent energy in Springside Chestnut Hill's Footloose filled the entire renovated-barn performance space, which added to the agrarian ambiance. The cast truly "cut loose" in their grand finale of "Footloose," leaving viewers bouncing in their seats.
Jack Allison (Ren McCormack), portrayed the confident character with poise and charisma. His passionate performance never faltered, even while donning roller skates. Gillian McLarty (Ariel Moore) adeptly attacked every facet of her persona, from her initial compliance to her father, the Reverend, to her flirtatious actions toward the enticing town newbie, Ren. Joseph Torsella (Reverend Shaw Moore) complimented the youthful vibe through his strong actions and deep, authoritative voice. His presence commanded viewers' attention, as he broke the fourth wall by addressing the audience as his congregation.
Every character in the large cast of Footloose made a mark, whether with a single witty line or a melodious song. A major standout was Maya Jones (Rusty), whose powerful belts in songs like "Let's Hear It For the Boy" proved that she was one of the most accomplished vocalists in the company. Avery Nunn (Wendy Jo) and Emily Sullivan (Urleen) also shined, creating sweet harmonies in songs like "Somebody's Eyes." Featured actor Hannah Lebowitz-Lockard (Betty Blast) executed tremendous comedic timing, leaving the audience rolling in laughter.
SCH's Footloose put a modern twist on this '80's musical, which could not have been as effectively communicated without the technical aspects of the production. Elsa Rall's costumes, like the clergy's pearly vestments, were skillfully selected, balancing between the countryside location and modern time period. Most notably, Rall costumed the running crew (managed by Caroline Henry, Maddie Nicol, and Kerry Dowd) who executed flawless transitions without breaking the believability of the show.
Springside Chestnut Hill's production of Footloose was a splendid success, and kept the audience "Still Rockin" all the way home.