note: entire contents copyright 2002 by Bob Guenthner
Footloose is not in my top ten list for favorite musicals, it isn't even in my top thirty or so. The show I saw last night at Company Theatre, didn't push it up on my list, but it did give me a very pleasurable night out.
The story line is similar to the old Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney movies. Teenagers against the unfair adult world. The kids are prohibited from dancing, because the local reverends' son was killed in a car accident while driving to a dance. Of course dancing is blamed. As Judy and Mickey prevailed, so do these youngsters. this version is by no means a bland remake of one of these old movies. The abbreviated costumes on the girls, combined with the language and sexual innuendoes, bring it to the present time.
I counted forty-six names in the program. A large and talented cast. The choreography was special, it had to be with the crowd that appeared on stage at times. The scenery was excellent in its simplicity. The changes went very fast, no dead air on this stage. Michael Joseph did his normal great work as musical director and conductor.
In my mind the standout songs were, THE GIRL GETS AROUND Matt Noblin, Emilee Dennis, Ronny Pompeo Jr. and Cooper Cerulo. Motorcycles, or at least the front end of them, added to this number. A very effective addition to the song.
HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO Emilee, Lia Macrina, Jessie Mullin, and Andrea Osborne. This one has a foot tapping, head bobbing beat to it.
SOMEBODY'S EYES Emilee, Lia, Jessie, Andrea and company. A dark change of pace song.
CAN YOU FIND IT IN YOUR HEART Lisa Morgan. A poignant song, one wishing for change and hope.
ALMOST PARADISE Emilee and Michael Foley.Their voices blended perfectly in this number. It is where the young couple find each other.
I CONFESS Peter Dupre shows off his singing and acting talent in this one.
Speaking of Peter. Whenever his name is in the playbill, I know I will be getting a good performance. He is one of a few actors who can dominate the stage with his presence. His voice and acting is on a professional level. Peters' beautiful wife Lori was also in the show. She didn't have a solo song, so I can't comment on her voice. Looking at her was enough for me, a good voice would be icing on the cake.
Scott A. Ryan was a spirited dynamo on stage. A great job of casting, no one could play his role better.
Emilee Dennis played the rebellious daughter of the reverend. Now watching this gorgeous creation on stage, wearing a tank top, shorts and boots, was almost too much for my old heart to take. Her voice was lovely, some girls have it all. I was told that Emilee is going to give it a try in the big city. Lucky New York. Hopefully we will be hearing good things about her in the future. Her mother hates me, but that is another story. Just kidding Julie, don't get mad at me.
Michael Foley handled the role of Ren with a flair that belies his age. His character holds the story line together. Without a good Ren, there is no Footloose. Each time he was on, I was taken in by his showmanship. His star should before to long. He is a very special talent.
I try to take snapshots of the cast at each show I see. This cast was so large, I had to concentrate on the lead players. One of the ensemble players made the mistake of coming close to me. The pretty Lauren Gemelli has had to put up with my picture taking several times. I just couldn't let her get away without a snap. She has a super sense of humor. An enthusiastic girl, both on and off the stage. I always enjoy having a word or two with her.
This presentation is a prime example of why you do not have to pay big bucks and go into the city to see a great show. I can see four or more shows locally [with free parking to boot ], for the same price as one show in Boston. I don't know whether I will be able to get a ticket to see the show again, but I am going to cross my fingers and try.