The Rend Lake College Theatre will take audiences back to the days of big hair, cowboy boots and tight jeans with its production of the 1984 rock’n’roll film, "Footloose."
Tickets for the foot-stomping musical are $9 and will be available as of February 2. The show runs Thursday, March 4, through Sunday, March 7 at the RLC Theater. The Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7 p.m. and the Sunday performance is a 2 p.m. matinee.
The Broadway version of this popular movie features many of the songs from the original soundtrack, converted into large choral pieces with incredible harmony, said Theatre Instructor Tracey Webb. There are additional tunes as well, written specifically for the musical version.
Based on the original screenplay by Dean Pitchford, the stage version was written by Pitchford and Walter Bobbie in 1998. The musical made its debut on Broadway in October 1998. The show recently completed a national tour and now is available for Rend Lake College to produce.
Webb said the show is exciting and fast-paced and features rock-and-roll numbers that will have the audience wanting to stand up and join the dancers on stage.
Footloose centers around high school student Ren McCormick, a hip city kid who is uprooted from Chicago after his parents divorce. He lands in a small, Bible-belt town in Iowa, an ill fit for a conservative community where rock is frowned upon and dancing is forbidden. When he discovers the ban on public dancing, Ren challenges the town law, including the Reverend Shaw, and falls for the preacher’s daughter, Ariel.
While the movie -- which starred Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow and Christopher Penn -- made religion seem stodgy and outdated, the Broadway version makes religion seem more human, more necessary to help hold a family together, according to Webb.
"There are some powerful messages in this musical. Without becoming too ‘soapbox’ in style, it will uplift the spirits of those who come to watch it," Webb said.
"The title song, Kenny Loggins’ ‘Footloose,’ is going to take a lot of people back to the 1980s," Webb said. RLC Associate Music Professor Julie Wilkerson will conduct the rock and roll orchestra and will work with the singers.
"I’m very excited to be working with Julie again," said Webb. "She’s full of positive energy and she really likes this particular show’s musical score."
Also helping with the production is Therese Howard, Associate Art Professor, who will design a lavish set for the production. Howard has taken on this task in several other Rend Lake College Theatre productions and is set to graduate this spring from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Set Design. According to Webb, Howard already is perusing the script, working on seamlessly interweaving the intricate scenes into one another.
"Having Therese on board again is a load off my shoulders," said Webb. "She’s really gifted." Howard’s Art Appreciation students also take part, helping paint the set while getting hands-on experience and the satisfaction of being involved in the production.
"It’s such a rush when people want to help. The theatre is a powerful force, drawing people together who endeavor to create something magical for the audience," said Webb. "That’s why I chose it for my career. Actually, I could say it chose me. I’ve been hooked since grade school."
The cast is comprised of numerous RLC students as well as members of the community. "I have a wonderful cast. There’s so much talent under one roof, I am awestruck," Webb said.
The dancing in "Footloose" will be physically demanding for the performers. "They’re going to sweat a lot this time," Webb said. Rend Lake College students Jason Sinkhorn (Benton), Jessica Neuman (Waltonville), Kayti Hall (Zeigler), Kasey Summers (Herrin) and Kellyn Tennyson (Dahlgren) are aiding Webb in choreographing many of the production’s dances.
"I’ll have to calm Sinkhorn down a little. He’s a gymnast and some of the dancers will find his moves difficult to execute, said Webb.
Dean of Instruction Lisa Payne will run the box office. Anyone wanting tickets should contact Payne’s office at (618) 437-5321, Ext. 1200. Those interested also may contact Webb at Ext. 1295, although she may be out of the office regularly due to rehearsals.
For theatre goers who would like to enjoy a meal before the production, RLC and the Rend Lake Resort are working together to create a dinner/theatre package. Prices are being determined. For tickets and dinner, contact the Resort at (618) 629-2211. Those wanting tickets only should contact the college.
FOOTLOOSE - CAST LIST
REN McCORMICK--JOHN MAJOR--HILLSBORO
ETHEL McCORMACK--SHANNON OSLAGER--MT. VERNON
REVEREND SHAW MOORE--TOM HERMAN--BENTON
VI MOORE--BARBARA BOYLES--MT. VERNON
ARIEL MOORE--KATHLEEN BOYLES--MT. VERNON
LULU WARNICKER--MARY SWOFFORD--MT. VERNON
WES WARNICKER--MICHAEL MAJOR--HILLSBORO
COACH ROGER DUNBAR--AARON SIMMONS--McCLEANSBORO
ELEANOR DUNBAR--KASEY SUMMERS--HERRIN
URLEEN--TAYLOR HORNUNG--MT. VERNON
WENDY JO--JESSICA NEUMAN--WALTONVILLE
CHUCK CRANSTON--BOBBY BACKES--MT. VERNON
TRAVIS--BUTCH FARMER--MT. VERNON
BETTY BLAST--KRISTI LUEKER--MT. VERNON
WILLARD HEWITT--TIMOTHY LEARNED--MULKEYTOWN
PRINCIPAL HARRY CLARK--JAMES FORD--BENTON
BICKLE--TYLER WHITECOTTON--MT. VERNON
1ST COWBOY--AARON BOWHOLTZ--MCCLEANSBORO
2ND COWBOY/COUNTRY KICKER--DERICK HAMILTON--MT. VERNON
COUNTRY KICKER/DANCER--MARC PATTERSON--WOODLAWN
COUNTRY KICKER/DANCER--ERIC POE--BENTON
COUNTRY KICKER/DANCER--JOSH MARLOWE--MT. VERNON
COWBOY BOB--NATE DILLINER--SESSER
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT & DANCER--EMILY MESTEL--MT. VERNON
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT & DANCER--MIRANDA WILLMORE--MT. VERNON
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT & DANCER--KAYTI HALL--ZEIGLER
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT & DANCER--ELIZABETH PRESCOTT--CHRISTOPHER
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT & DANCER--KRISTI WALLER--MT. VERNON
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT & DANCER--KELLYN TENNYSON--DAHLGREN
TOWNSPERSON & DANCER--NICOLE MORRIS--EWING
TOWNSPERSON & DANCER--JANICE BRILEY--SESSER
TOWNSPERSON & DANCER--ERIN CALLAHAN--CARBONDALE
TOWNSPERSON & DANCER--ASHLEE BARDLE--PINCKNEYVILLE
TOWNSPERSON & DANCER--EMILY SHAPIRO--MT. VERNON
TOWNSPERSON & DANCER--REBECCA HORN--MT. VERNON