This week, stone-washed jeans, denim jackets and colored eyeshadow have all been making a comeback as Morgan High School’s Theatre Department presented Footloose: The Musical. Based on the well-known 1984 movie starring Kevin Bacon, filmed at Utah’s own Lehi Roller Mills, Footloose is a story based in the small town of Bomont, where the tragic loss of four of their youth has prompted the town council to implement a strict “no dancing” policy.
A newcomer from Chicago, Ren McCormack shakes up the views of prominent residents and challenges the rules, forcing the entire town to re-examine their individual feelings of loss, abandonment and love.
Directed by Jana Timpson, Footloose explores not only the challenges of being a teenager, but also the difficulties adults face as they struggle to guide and raise those teenagers. While the musical contains some of the familiar content found in the original movie production, the cast does an excellent job portraying new character plot lines, including the feelings of loss and inadequacy felt by Reverend Shaw Moore (played by Josh Peterson), the small community’s ecclesiastical leader, Ethel McCormack (Lauren Windley) and Vi Moore (Olivia Ericksson), who struggle to maintain their identities as wives and mothers while battling their own feelings of loss and grief.
However, there are moments of comic relief, such as the boisterous dancing line of cowboys featuring Willard, played by Raen Wilkinson, who shares the sage advice of his mother through the song “Mama Says.” Brianne Anderson and Caleb Roundy, playing Ariel Moore and Ren McCormack respectively, give a beautiful rendition of “Almost Paradise” while Rusty (Abby Fisher) wowed the audience with a snappy and highly entertaining version of “Let’s Hear it for the Boy.”
Urleen (Haley Bess), Jackie (Kara Weight), and Wendy Jo (Sarah Dougall) serve as the primary supporting cast to leading lady Ariel, while Chuck Cranston, played by Noah Nalder, rounds out the main cast list as the primary antagonist to the blooming love story of Ariel and Ren. Primary cast members are supported by a very talented ensemble company who superbly assist in presenting a lively and thoroughly enjoyable stage performance.
Overall, Morgan High Theatre Department students and staff do a “totally awesome” job in presenting this fun yet thought-provoking musical. Also assisting in the production were Rawson Butts, musical director; Michael Hernandez, choreographer; and Charli Wilde, assistant director.