Footloose Comes to Vashon
Alexander Wolf, Reporter
The musical version of Footloose, which follows the plot of the 80’s film, will debut at the Vashon Center for the Arts on November 16. The theatrical retelling of this classic movie follows a tale of teenage rebellion with touching dance scenes and emotional performances by over 30 students.
The story of Footloose centers around Ren McCormack, a boy who finds himself living in a new town that, to his dismay, has outlawed dancing and rock music. With the aid of his new friends, Ren attempts to change things up in a dramatic fashion.
Footloose the musical packs a diverse cast of actors from elementary age students to high school seniors. This age range sometimes caused complications for the directors.
“There is a whole lot of personalities to manage … We are dealing with third through 12th graders and all the attendant vagaries that come with that,” Footloose director Christopher Dawson said.
Dawson has been involved in acting throughout his highschool and college years. Since then, he has taught a highschool drama course and directed multiple plays on the island. As a veteran director, he’s also used to the issues that come with a variance in skill and experience.
“It’s a very heterogeneous group so we have new faces who have never been on stage before all the way up to experienced students who have been doing this for years,” Dawson said.
This difficulty is also present for the students themselves, especially the more experienced ones. Senior cast member Maddi Deck, who’s been involved in theater and music her whole life, plays the female lead of Ariel.
“I like to move really fast and get things done and I’ve been doing this for years so it comes easier to me than it does people who are new at it, so it’s difficult for me to stay patient,” Deck said.
Still, the cast has been working together to produce a polished show and are looking to draw in a larger audience for their show.
“It’s an opportunity for them all to come together and put on a show that the public actually wants,” Dawson said. “We want to expand the reach of our audience past parents who just want to see their kids on stage to a near professional quality show that the community wants to see.
Dawson is joined in directing by Marita Eriksen, who works as the music director of Footloose.
Eriksen has nearly twenty years of producing experience, and Footloose will be the eighth show she and Dawson have collaborated on.
The plot of the musical does not deviate from the original plot when possible, but some musical scores and scenes have been removed.
“The Broadway cast made changes to the original score which is a little bit of a problem for the kids learning their songs,” Eriksen said “We [also] don’t have trucks on stage there is no car racing, things like that”
Dawson encourages community members of all ages to attend and consider the themes beyond the music.
“Come see the show, it’s a remarkable dive for both the students and us into the issues of faith, of rebellion, of youth, of generation gaps. We as directors bring a very different kind of generational perspective to the students and the students themselves have their own perspectives,” Dawson said. “This is a really neat opportunity for that to get expressed on stage here on Vashon.”