Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"FOOTLOOSE" AND FANCY FREE

                           PHOTOS BY PAUL ROTH OF "FOOTLOOSE"

The world knows how to dance with joy, feet moving with grace and intensity, people energized and spiritualized with heart pumping tempo and timing, everywhere on the globe except for one small western town in Texas in the 1980's.  There dancing is banned, forbidden and just plum against the law.  A tragic car accident in Bomont five years before, when four teenagers driving home from a dance were killed, has caused the town's religious leader, Reverend Shaw Moore, a firm minded Gary Harger, to prohibit any future gyrations.  The good Reverend lost his son and he will do anything to prevent the incident from happening again.

All that being said, be ready to follow the beat directly to the doors of the Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury before Saturday, June 20 to get the groovy moves of "Footloose: The Musical," based on the 1984 movie, with book by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie and music by Tom Snow, with additional music by Eric Carmen, Sammy Hagar, Jim Steinman and Kenny Loggins.

Follow the journey of Ren McCormick, a high energy Michael Damian Fasano, a teen whose dad's abandonment causes the family to be uprooted from Chicago to land in the manure-rich farm land of Bomont.  Ren feels the loss deeply and resents his dad for leaving.  With his mom (Elise Arndt), he tries to adjust to life with her sister (Diane Magas) and her husband (George Lombardo) but he's not happy.

As the new kid on the block, he's caught on the wrong end of fists on his first day of high school.  The bully, a cowboy named Willard, a congenial Alec Varcas, ends up being his best friend.  Ren identifies with the other rebellious soul in Texas, the preacher's daughter Ariel, a spirited Katie Brady, who dates the town bad boy Chuck (Micah Cowher) to punish  her parents, her dad more than her mom (Laura Beth Wells) for not understanding her needs.

Eventually Ren hooks up with Ariel and Willard finds a date with Rusty, an animated Chelsey Lynn Alfredo.  Ren determines the town needs to bring back dancing and he is willing to fight the establishment to make it happen.  Glorious and grand music explodes with this high stepping cast, in numbers like "Let's Hear It For the Boy," "Mama Says," "Almost Paradise," "Holding Out for a Hero" and "Footloose."  Janine Molinari choreographs and directs this great acting troupe, putting them through their paces with megawatts of power.

For tickets ($37.50-52.50), call Seven Angels Theatre, Plank Road, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at www.sevenangelstheatre.org.  Performances are Thursday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The theatre recently celebrated the theatrical achievements of 56 Connecticut high schools in its 12th Annual Halo Awards at the Palace Theater in a stirring two night event.

Discover what happens when a big city guy tests the boundaries of Bible Belt America and stakes a claim for the moral high road. Hallaluyah!

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