When his father leaves, Ren McCormack and his mother are forced to move from the big city of Chicago to the little Podunk town of Bomont. A small town that greets outsiders with wary eyes. Especially wild big-city kids like Ren who like to dance. A forbidden activity since the death of a carload of teenagers following a night of dancing and drinking. Which is a law that the controlling moral force in the town, Reverend Shaw Moore, is determined to enforce as if the souls of everyone, including his own, depended on it.

The blockbuster Kevin Bacon movie Footloose was adapted to the stage by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie, and is now on the stage at Coronado School of the Arts where Director Barbara Wolf and company make use of their impressive New Theatre for only the second time. That theatre is full of some of San Diego’s finest high school talents, for many of whom Footloose will be their senior swan song. But they make it a good one.

Charles Evans, Jr. leads the way with a dynamic performance as Ren, handling the role’s vocal and dancing demands with flair. He is paired with Jessica Lerner as preacher’s kid Ariel Moore. Jessica has the rock vocals for the role, and captures the uninhibited, rebellious Ariel with brief glimpses into the insecure person underneath. We get a good look at the uninhibited, rebellious Ariel in The Girl Gets Around, where Jessica and her bad boy boyfriend Chuck Cranston (performed by one of the great male singers around, James Maslow) together heat up a scene that Ariel better hope her father never sees.

Collin Bell, James Maslow, and Jessica LernerSaid father, Reverend Moore, is played by Collin Bell who often appears to channel John Lithgow’s sensational performance in the film version, Collin’s voice almost eerily like Lithgow at times. His body language is stiff, which seems to fit the character who is uncomfortable with so many of the things going on around him. His difficult, soul-searching solo at the end is terrific. At his side is his wife Vi played by Morgan Reeves who radiates an aura of gentleness with her voice and manner, and a deep heart as we see in her nice duet with Ren’s soft-spoken mother (Catherine Miller). But she can also become determined when the situation calls for it.

The friends of Ren and Ariel add some comedy as well as some more outstanding singing. Meryn Beckett leads the girls as Rusty, with Melody Prado, Tatiana Holthaus, and Maria Demoret usually nearby as they warn Ren about nosey small-town life in Somebody’s Eyes, and then really turn it on with Holding Out for a Hero led by Jessica Lerner. Meryn also leads the cast in the hit song Let’s Hear It for the Boy in which her sort-of boyfriend Willard (Donny Gersonde) learns to dance. And Donny is a hit as Rusty’s tongue-tied sort-of boyfriend, as a teacher in Mama Says featuring him and the group of guy friends, and especially as he struggles and then succeeds in his dance studies. The latter is just one of the many great numbers designed by Choreographer Vanessa Gonzalez who, with the assistance of the ensemble taken from both the drama and dancing programs at CoSA, create some electric dance scenes. Which, fortunately for the cast of Footloose, is completely legal in Coronado. Though they’d probably find a way to do it anyway.

Performed April 27 - May 5, 2007.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

James Maslow, Maria Demoret, Tatiana Holthaus, Charles Evans, Jr., Melody Prado, Meryn Beckett, and Donny GersondeRen McCormack: Charles Evans, Jr.
Ethel McCormack: Catherine Miller
Reverend Shaw Moore: Collin Bell
Vi Moore: Morgan Reeves
Ariel Moore: Jessica Lerner
Lulu Warnicker/Country Kicker: Alex Lee
Wes Warnicker: Grayson Kelley
Coach Roger Dunbar: Austin McGuyer
Eleanor Dunbar: Sabrina Wenske
Rusty: Meryn Beckett
Urleen: Melody Prado
Wendy: Tatiana Holthaus
Jo: Maria Demoret
Chuck Cranston: James Maslow
Lyle: Max Gidaley
Travis: Jay Schenk
A Cop/Cowboy Bob: Grant Glibert
Betty Blast/Irene: Ashley Masula
Willard Hewitt: Donny Gersonde
Principal Harriet Clark: Brianna Oppenheimer
Jeter: Jacob Sampson
Bickle: Brent Gladney
Garvin: Ben Silbert
Country Kicker/Kids' Chorus: Alene Lynch
Kids' Chorus:
Travis Wright
Erin Keepers
Desiree Corriente
Darienne Orlansky
Adult Chorus: Brooke Williams
Adult/Kids' Chorus: Taylor West
Featured Dancers:
Stephanie Breining
Lucy Duck
Grant Glibert
Samantha Gonzalez-Gold
Sulijah Learmont
Grecia C. Leon
Salinda Nichols
Darienne Orlansky

Director: Barbara Wolf
Technical Director: Adrian Gonzalez
Assistant Director: Erin Petersen
Musical Director: Brian Hammond
Musical Director: Amy Dalton
Set Designer: Susan Scharpf
Lighting Designer: Michael Paolini
Lighting Designer: Shawna Kyees
Costume Designer: Rosie Masula
Costume Designer: Donna Nardi-Loving
Choreographer: Vanessa Gonzalez
Stage Manager: Keith Dunn


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