By Marcy Stamper
Students in the Liberty Bell High School drama class have been polishing their lines, stretching their vocal cords, and kicking up their heels in rehearsals for next week’s performance of Footloose: The Musical.
Footloose, which opens at The Merc Playhouse in Twisp on May 12, is a fast-paced musical about a small town that bans dancing and loud music. The successful movie, starring Kevin Bacon, was released in 1984.
“The kids are having a lot of fun — they’re glad to be doing something and to be getting their teeth into it,” said drama club adviser Danbert Nobacon, who co-teaches the class with English teacher Kelly Grayum.
The class had to make a quick switch to Footloose after a school committee decided two months ago that they could not present the original play they had been developing since the fall. A student in the drama class, along with some parents, had expressed concerns about adult content and language in the play, entitled The Port in the Storm: A Comedy of Mixed Mating Strategies, although others were eager to continue.
Despite some disappointment about not being able to bring their original play to the stage, people are really enthused about Footloose, said Nobacon.
Many welcomed the chance to be part of a popular musical. That excitement, along with the casting requirements of Footloose, nearly doubled student participation in the production, drawing in performers who are not enrolled in the drama class, said Nobacon. He expects about 21 students on stage, plus another three doing sound and lights.
When the students selected Footloose, many considered it an apt choice because of the focus on the prohibition of music and dancing, said Grayum in March. But they also liked its energy and spirited music and dance numbers.
While Footloose won’t use the students’ original script and music — in fact, the agreement with the licensing company does not permit any changes to the script, which includes some racy language — the production will include original choreography.
Missi Smith, executive director of The Merc Playhouse, choreographed two dance numbers, which will open and close the show. “The students are learning the dances really well,” said Smith, who said that many of the actors didn’t have much previous experience with dance.
Liberty Bell seniors Monica Chavey and KayDee Sims were also helping with the dance steps. They adapted two dances from their local line-dancing troupe, which they taught to the cast.
Footloose will be performed at The Merc Playhouse in Twisp next Thursday through Sunday, May 12 through 15. Performances are at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students.