"Considering that Footloose is a show about a town that bans dancing and rock and roll, there is a lot of dancing that happens, as well as very familiar songs that will make you want to sing along," notes Director and Theater Arts Teacher Helena Fifer.
Based on a 1984 movie of the same name, Footloose is the story of Ren McCormack, a big city boy whose life is turned upside down when he moves to a small, fictional Midwestern town where rock music and dancing have been banned. Ren challenges Reverend Moore and much of the town as he works to overturn the ban and hold a senior prom.
"It's more than a show about teenage rebellion," says Fifer, "It's also about the unfortunate struggles these characters have with loss and loneliness. In the end, it's a familiar message about how love and acceptance triumph and bring people together."
Tatnall Holt '18, a familiar face on the Taft stage, gives life and light to Ren, while Brady Grustas '18 fresh off his lead role in last year's musical, Shrek, takes on the role of the reverend. Tatum Shane '18 shares many memorable moments on stage with both Holt and Grustas, her boyfriend and father in the production. But that is just the tip of the iceberg: Taft's production of Footloose will feature 41 cast members.
"Everyone who wants to be in a Taft musical is in the musical," explains Fifer.
With townspeople, high school students, and big dance numbers, Footloose lends itself well to Taft's large and extremely talented pool of singers, dancers, and actors. Dance teacher and choreographer Sarah Surber worked with assistant chorographer and former Rockette Amber Cameron to block, model, and teach complex dance numbers to the cast.
"None of it was easy, but the students were exceptionally hard working," notes Fifer. "We now forget who of these students may have once considered themselves non-dancers or non-singers. They are all impressive."
The enormity of the production also means that stage manager C.J. Silverman '18, under the guidance of Technical Director David Kievit, will lead one of Taft's largest technical crews ever, with 23 students making magic behind the scenes. Taft students also make up more than half of musical director T.J. Thompson's pit band.
Taft's fall musical is always one of the highlights of Parents' Weekend, and this year is no exception. Get ready for a night of great music, great fun, and great performances—not to mention a trip down memory lane with costume wizard Lesley Bowman's spot-on 80's fashions. Performances begin at 7:30 pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, October 26-28, with additional shows Wednesday, November 1 at 1:30 pm, and Friday, November 3 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are not required.