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Porthouse's "Footloose" closes the theater's summer season on a high note, with high energy, a good story and numerous popular songs.
Despite the humidity during the July 31 show, the energy of the cast did not flag during the many intense and well-choreographed dance numbers. A highlight for me, though, was the music. I grew up singing along with and dancing to such songs as "Holding Out for a Hero," "I'm Free," "Let's Hear it for the Boy," "Almost Paradise" and the title song.
The musical, directed by Terri Kent, has a stellar cast of both professional Equity actors, area residents and theater students. It is based on the 1980s movie starring Kevin Bacon.
"Footloose" has a traditional "fish out of water" type of story. It focuses on Ren McCormack (Paul Schwensen), who has moved with his mother Ethel (Tracee Patterson) from big-city Chicago to Bomont, a tiny town in the middle of nowhere after his father leaves them. Immediately, Ren clashes with much of the town, including the leadership, particularly the Rev. Shaw Moore (Rob Albrecht of Aurora). The reverend, meanwhile, is coping with a heavy loss of his own, and is trying to keep his daughter Ariel (Lindsay Simon) safe from harmful influences. To his horror, Ariel starts falling for Ren. Things come to a head when Ren decides to try to organize a dance party for his class, despite the fact that dancing is illegal in the town.
The stage adaptation is by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie and is based on the original screenplay by Dean Pitchford. Music is by Tom Snow and lyrics are by Dean Pitchford. Additional music is by Eric Carmen, Sammy Hagar, Kenny Loggins, and Jim Steinman.
Performances are Aug. 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 at 8 p.m. and Aug. 7, 13, and 14 at 2 p.m.
Single tickets and group tickets can be purchased by phone at 330-672-3884, in person at the Porthouse Box Office, or online at www.porthousetheatre.com. The Porthouse Box Office is in the Roe Green Center lobby of Kent State's Center for the Performing Arts, 1325 Theatre Dr. in Kent.