WALLENPAUPACK - Nostalgia will be eminent in the WAHS Players upcoming production of Footloose, with 80s’ music, attire and energy.
Every spring the WAHS Players present a musical and Footloose was the best option for the current cast, Theatre Director Alison Hoffman said, because the many dances offer a “challenge” through the continual training and choreography. The music she called “contemporary” with a “rock score” that will give the students a “different perspective” because those in the pit band will play music they normally don’t.
Through each production the WAHS Players present, there are lessons to be learned for the cast and crew as well as the audience. In Footloose, rather than coping with their emotions, it takes a new teen in town to make everyone realize they aren’t “facing their problems,” explained Hoffman. And so, Ren McCormack opens the townspeople’s eyes and helps everyone finally move on. These lessons are important Hoffman said, because as an educator she has to “teach and inform,” which she is able to do by teaching theater basics, that offer life lessons.
When dancing is forbidden in the small town of Bomont, the cast of teens will show a grief-stricken father, the Rev. Shaw Moore that his son’s death doesn’t mean fun must end.
Senior and the reverend, Jack Mowatt said the character has “over reacted,” because he fears drinking and drugs correlate to dancing, although he is just trying to ensure such a death doesn’t occur again.
Mowatt called his character “fun,” because this is his first role since taking part in performances at the Ritz years ago, and he likes the idea of being a pastor. The show is “super fun,” but he is relieved that little dancing is required of him. It is the move and “rhythm” that Mowatt likes, although moving his own body is another story, he joked. Being on stage, Mowatt called “exhilarating” that offers an “adrenaline rush.” He concluded that Footloose will give the audience a chance to “relive the 80s.”
A junior at WAHS Samantha Feely will be Vi Moore, the reverend’s wife and a mother. Feely called her character “very interesting” as she struggles to speak her mind while also standing up for her beliefs. The issue she faces is that no one will listen to her and as she tries to console others, she doesn’t care for herself. The role, Feely called “realistic” and “fun” despite being a role unlike any other she has had.
Feely called Footloose “high energy” with amazing talent because it is a “different type of show.” She explained it is the nostalgia and energy that makes the performance its own. Feely said she doesn’t believe the show to be a “typical high school show” because so much is happening, leading the audience to get “lost” in the reality of the performance.
Sophomore Lauren Brand will be the reverend’s daughter Ariel, who she said is “rebellious” and enjoys making her parents mad. The character is “fun,” because it’s a “dynamic” role that has allowed her to “explore,” making the show an “amazing experience.”
A senior, Alexia Wildenberer will be Jo, who is one of Ariel’s friends. The character, Wildenberger said she loves because Jo is so different than any role she’s ever had, since she is an “airhead.” Being a “dance heavy” show, Wildenberger believes makes the show “awesome” because of her own joy for dancing.
Willard will be McCormack’s best friend, played by Paul Forte. The role, Forte called “hilarious” and a “break” from his recent “intense roles.” Footloose, Forte believes to be “loose and up to interpretation.” In reality, Forte doesn’t feel as though he relates to Willard because the character acts on impulse, whereas he doesn’t. Forte called the show “fun” and “upbeat” with music the audience will know.
Tom Hiller, a senior who will be Coach Roger Dunbar described his character as a “middle-aged gym teacher” who is McCormack’s greatest opponent, because he believes dancing is a crime. To be a coach, will be “interesting” because aside from being his first performance, as an athlete himself, Hiller will learn more about a coach’s role. Footloose being one of his favorite movies, Hiller is excited about, as he will be able to “recreate” the show on stage.
Despite the weather that canceled many rehearsals, Hoffman said the cast is ready to entertain and she is “excited.” The students are all greatly committed, and that dedication is “acquired” as they learn what is needed of them by their peers. Overtime, a “passion” is created that transcends into the shows because of the “fun” that happens by dressing up and playing pretend. Hoffman believes the dancing, energy and “iconic 1980s fashion and music” will radiate from the cast to the audience, making for a great show.
The WAHS Player’s production of Footloose will be: Thursday through Saturday, April 11, 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. and Sunday April 14 at 2 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Adults are $8, students are $5 and seniors are free. Tickets can be purchased at http://wallenpaupack.org/wahsplayers.