Theatre ReviewsTom Williams

Footloose –The Musical

Book and Lyrics by Dean Pitchford footloose at the theatre at the center

Book by Walter Bobbie

Music by Tom Snow

Directed & Choreographed by Stacey Flaster

Musical Direction by William A. Underwood

At Theatre at the Center

Footloose’s is a fun show that grows on you

Footloose is a high energy, 80’s dance show based on the hit film, Footloose. This show is pure fun containing pop-rock hits like “Almost Paradise,” “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” “Holding out for a Hero” and “Footloose.” This show has everything you’d ask for in a fluffy, light-weight musical. The spirited young cast burst onto the stage and strut their stuff. Footloose sings fine and you can actually understand the lyrics, has a serviceable book, looks terrific, but it is the dancing that makes this show zing! Filled with 80’s disco hits, director/choreographer Stacey Flaster has the kids kicking, jumping and pointing to the familiar beats and rhythms of pop music. Her added country line dances were a surprise.

FOOTLOOSE- Andrea Prestinario and Matt Raftery
FOOTLOOSE- Andrea Prestinario and Matt Raftery

Matt Raftery, as Ren, the free-spirited teen rebel from Chicago who lands in a conservative Midwest town where dancing and rock music are outlawed. (I guess they never heard of the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment here.) Raftery has the big smile, boyish good looks, charismatic demeanor together with triple-threat talent (he can act, sing and dance with skill) that make Ren a memorable lead character. Matt Raftery is an instantly lovable guy.

FOOTLOOSE ensemble

Footloose ‘s story deals with the sad preacher, Reverend Moore (Larry Adams in terrific voice) and the kid’s angst and boredom. Ultimately, the story is one of rebellion, redemption and closure.

Footloose is filled with 80’s pop tunes slickly stages and danced with a cute number, “Dancing’s Not A Crime” that adds humor. This show is so cute and doesn’t take itself seriously that its innocence is infectious. Once I sat back and let it entertain me—it sure did. And, I did recognize some of the disco tunes. The show is family friendly, has a good message and thoroughly entertains.

Andrea Prestinario, as Ariel, the rebellious preacher’s daughter and Ren’s love interest offered excellent work as did her three girlfriends: Donica Lynn (Rusty), Rebecca Pink (Urleen) and Traci Allen (Wendy Jo). Robert Deason’s Willard , as Ren’s sidekick, was a hoot.

The boys and girl dancers are the stars here. Led by Matt Raftery, the last finale number “Footloose” is tremendous—one of the most energetic and thrilling show ending numbers.
The troupe sure did let loose…all in fun.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

At the Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Muster, IN, call 219-836-3255, tickets $36 -$40, Wednesdays at 2 pm, Thursdays at 2 & 7:30, Fridays at 8 pm. Saturdays at 2:30 & 8 pm, Sundays at 2:30 pm, running time is 2 hours, 20 minutes with intermission, through August 16, 2009

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