FOOTLOOSE, THE MUSICAL. Adapted for the stage by Dean Pitchford and Walter Robbie; book and lyrics by Dean Pitchford; music by Tom Snow; directed and choreographed by Matthew Peters. Produced by BDT Stage (5500 Arapahoe Road, Boulder) through Sept. 3. Tickets available at 303-449-4000 or www.BDTstage.com
What’s the first thing you think of when you think of FOOTLOOSE, the movie? Kevin Bacon dancing through the barn and swinging in the rafters—right? Well, we don’t have Kevin Bacon but we do have Jean-Luc Cavner as Ren McCormack. No rafter swinging but a very powerful piece of aerial gymnastics by Rae Leigh Case.
The story remains the same: City boy moves to small town and butts heads with grownups over a local law that prevents dancing. Of course, he hooks up with the most rebellious girl in town, the preacher’s daughter, and together they manage to change everything. The need for a young cast brings 10 new singer/dancers to the BDT stage for their debuts. In addition to the talented Jean-Luc, Seles VanHuss comes aboard as Ariel, the preacher’s kid. Making a particularly splashy entrance to the BDT family as the three BFFs to Ariel are Bussy Gowers and Melissa Morris (most recently at Candlelight) and Satya Jnani Chavez. This trio has the chance to really shine in “Somebody’s Eyes” and “Let’s Hear It for the Boy.” Satya has a compelling stage presence and a powerful voice; here’s hoping they continue to find roles for her at BDT.
The more mature and more familiar actors associated with BDT are represented as well. After all, someone has to play the parents of all these teenagers. Joannie Brosseau returns as Ren’s mother and shares the beautiful duet “Learning to Be Silent” with Ali King as the minister’s wife, Vi. Scott Severtson is back as Cowboy Bob, the singer at a C&W bar where the kids go to dance. While not considered one of the “older” generation, Alejandro Roldan makes his third impressive appearance at BDT as Willard, Ren’s down-home friend who can’t dance and is full of his mama’s good advice (“Mama Says”).
Delivering a strong performance as Reverend Moore was Brian Burron—the best role he’s had since a long-ago EVITA. Not only was his voice powerful in “Heaven Help Me,” but his transition from stern disciplinarian to thoughtful husband was touching. If he doesn’t bring tears to your eyes in his final sermon, you aren’t paying attention.
The simple but versatile trestle-type set designed by Amy Campion provides a multitude of acting spaces and adds to the smooth flow of action. Brett Maughan’s especially moody and magical light design was outstanding. The show starts off with a bang using fog and Ren’s dramatic entrance. There weren’t too many unusual demands on Linda Morken’s costume design for this bluejeans-and-daywear show – except in the sheer number of costumes to be gathered. I just can’t imagine ANY minister letting his daughter out of the house in the short shorts Ariel wears for the whole show.
This is the summer production for BDT, so you have until the end of August to bring your kids and summer visitors to see it. No excuses!
WOW factor: 8.5