by Claire Malkie of St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School
Imagine a driven teenage boy leaving behind the roaring, adventurous city of Chicago, and moving to the small, crisp town of Bomont; a town kept in shape by the controlling Rev. Moore. The town thrives like any other, but has one distinct, strict taboo: no dancing. The driven Ren McCormack must find a way to “cut loose,” even with this harsh law. This weekend Oakton High School performed the classic high school epic: Footloose.
The 1998 musical is based on the 1984 movie, starred Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Since the movie incorporated pop music from the 80s, the movie seamlessly transitioned into a musical. Tom Snow composed the music, and Dean Pitchford and Kenny Loggins collaborated on the lyrics. The show opened at Broadway’s Richard Roger Theatre on October 22, 1998 and ran through July 2, 2000. Since that time, it has toured the United States and the United Kingdom multiple times.
The dynamic duo of Aidan Smith and Emma Mankin portrayed the rebellious love interests: Ren and Ariel. Mankin’s strong commitment to rebelling made her watchable and engaging. Smith carried many of the same qualities, along with an impressive vocal range, which even included a skilled rap. Although the pair might have overacted some scenes, their vocal blend let their emotions ease, and the reality shine through.
Ariel’s posse: Rusty (Sarah Smith), Urleen (Alex Sommese), and Wendy Jo (Elise Bartakke) displayed comical back up to Ariel’s more subdued attitude. Each one had individual quirks, such as Wendy Jo’s sneakers instead of heels at the dance. Their voices shone through during “Somebody’s Eyes” as their lovely harmonies vibrated throughout the auditorium. Additionally the pair of the Rev. Shaw Moore (Henry Ragan) and Vi Moore (Hannah Berlin) displayed very accurate adult features. Their movements and tonalities made them quite believable as parents.
On the technical side of the show, the microphones and the spot lights where a tad bit off. A few character’s microphones faded in and out, but on the positive, there was hardly any feedback. There were also points during the show where the spot light seemed unfocused. The actors on stage dealt with these difficulties soundly.
Overall Oakton’s performance of Footloose was fun and exciting. All the actors on stage truly looked as though they enjoyed and appreciated their work.