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Footloose The Musical stirs up Arden Theatre

Teenage rebellion carries an empowering message of perseverance against adversity


Footloose The Musical

St. Albert Catholic High Musical Theatre

Feb. 12 and 13 at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Arden Theatre

5 St. Anne Street

Tickets: $15. Visit

When the dance movie Footloose hit the screens in 1984, critics trashed it. The only person who remained unscathed was a young Kevin Bacon, who gave a cocky and charismatic Mr. Cool performance.

Audiences, on the other hand, loved it. To this day, the 1998 Broadway musical remains an audience crowd-pleaser as professional theatres and school groups continue to champion it.

In its annual musical, St. Albert Catholic High School features this energetic dance production involving romance, rebellion, teenage angst and a dose of religion.

Tethering everything together is the magic of Tom Snow’s music with lyrics by Dean Pitchford and Kenny Loggins.

“It’s very upbeat and makes you want to dance. It makes you want to get up on stage and join in the fun,” said director Jennifer Koehler.

Underneath the frothy dance numbers choreographed to Top 40 scores, Koehler also notes, “It’s a celebration of youth and change, but also of grief and the power of forgiveness.”

Footloose is the story of Ren McCormack, a teenage boy from Chicago who dances to defuse stress. After his father abandons the family, Ren and his mother move to the small town of Bomont.

Almost from the start Ren doesn’t feel he fits in, especially with the over-protective Reverend Shaw Moore. The church leader has convinced the town councillors to prohibit dancing after his son was killed in an automible accident driving home from a dance.

Ren is shocked at the ban and his maverick nature kicks in. With the help of Ariel, the Reverend’s rebellious daughter, and Willard, a fun-loving rube, Ren persuades Moore to lift the prohibition.

Not only does the town heal itself, but what emerges is a father looking for a lost son and young man yearning for a father who walked out on him.

Casting a high school production can be difficult in part because of the uneven talent. However, Koehler, a former teacher at Vincent J. Maloney, watched many of the young actors grow artistically over the years.

“This group of young adults by far has been the most kind, generous team I’ve worked with. Their talent and gifts are a blessing and I’m honoured to be part of their team.”

Aaron Krips is cast in the title role of Ren.

“I’ve watched Aaron grow up. He has a positive outlook and the necessary dance skills. He’s taken extensive hip hop lessons.”

As Ariel, Koehler decribes Teagan Gomes as having “a beautiful, powerful voice. And her commitment is to the whole show. She’s very inclusive. She’s a real team leader.”

Colin Salcedo is the overzealous Reverend.

“Colin vocally has the perfect pitch and his sermons have to have the perfect pitch. He can be stern but kind and he fits the fatherly role needed for this piece.”

Brody Schmermund has nabbed the role of Willard Hewitt, Ren’s best friend.

“Brody is goofy and fun and laid back. When he sings Mama Sings, he will have you howling. He’s quite a comedian on stage.”

Footloose The Musical runs four shows on Feb. 12 and 13 at the Arden Theatre.

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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