This weekend we closed the final show of our summer season, Footloose. And wow, what a night it was, full of extreme highs and unexpected lows at the sudden realization that our time together as a company had come to an end. It was a fantastic release of so many emotions both onstage and off, and it will not be an evening I will soon forget.
As with the other shows of the summer, Footloose further solidified the bonds between our company of friends. One of the most special memories I will cherish will be the recent Sunday when four of us sang in the local church choir just as we sang together onstage with the congregation of Beaumont. It was a surreal morning with art reflected in life and love shared among all as we raised our voices together in harmony.Footloose is among movie musicals such as Dirty Dancing and Flashdance that have been adapted for the stage to not quite the same effect as the original cinema versions. While the plot can be difficult to sustain without the movie’s trademark fast cuts and music video qualities, there are quite a few hit songs and honest lines that ground the production among a plethora of dance sequences.
There is a time to every purpose under heaven — a time to laugh and a time to weep. There is a time to mourn and there is a time to dance…And this is our time. Our time to celebrate life. That’s the way it was in the beginning, the way it’s always been, and that’s the way it should be now. (Ren McCormack, Footloose)
I immensely enjoyed my time portraying Vi Moore in Footloose. Through the course of the show, Vi supports the fresh ideas of newcomer Ren McCormack while trying to facilitate a seemingly impossible reconciliation of her broken family. Still recovering from the loss of her son, she struggles to reclaim relationships with her distant husband and headstrong daughter. Vi presented my most dramatic musical role to date, offering rich opportunities for character study and the discovery of vulnerable and raw moments. Our preliminary character development discussions with director Michael Smith proved invigorating and generated much material for consideration in making strong choices, and I found myself utilizing previously undiscovered capacities in intellectual and emotionally stimulating ways. Although my role required no dancing in the “dance musical” of the season, I left the stage each evening fulfilled with the same simultaneous sense of exhaustion and excitement as I do performing more movement-heavy roles.
Closing night of Footloose was replete with quite a few tears, but it was also an unabashed celebration of life just as Ren states in Act II. The summer nights at this “theatre by the bay” have flown by rapidly, but we have seized every chance to live life and share our passions with the amazing people that form our audiences, friends, and families. I wouldn’t have it any other way.