"FOOTLOOSE" WILL HAVE YOU DANCING OFF YOUR SEAT


BONNIE GOLDBERG

Get your dancing shoes on and kick up your heels and prepare to fly with joy to the Ivoryton Playhouse for a fun and frolic-filled production of "Footloose."

Imagine a town where dancing is forbidden, prohibited, against the law, banned. A tragic car accident took the lives of four teenagers coming home from a dance over five years before and at the time Reverend Shaw Moore, whose son was one of those lost, mounted a campaign to eliminate future dances.

Until Saturday, July 28, you're invited to get your groove on and follow the beat to this 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.

Ren McCormick is not thrilled when his mom informs him that they have to leave their home in Chicago to live with her sister and husband in a Podunk farm town called Bomont. Ren's father's abandonment is turning his life upside down and he resents all that he has lost.

A dynamic Cody Ryan as Ren pledges to make the best of a bad situation and tries to blend in with small town life. His mom (Elise Arsenault) is encouraging and his aunt and uncle (Melissa McClean and George Lombardo) want to be helpful.

Ren's first day at high school, he finds himself being beat up by Willard (Patrick H. Dunn), a cowboy who ends up becoming his first real friend. Ren's adjustment to small town life is complicated by the vast influence exerted by Reverend Shaw, an authoritative Edward Juvier, on the community as well as on his wife Vi (Traci Bair) and their rebellious daughter Ariel, an unconventional Zoe Kassay. Ariel is so busy defying her father by dating a teen loser, Chuck (Michael Wright), that it takes her a while to realize she is attracted to the new kid on the block. Surrounded as she is by her best buds, Rusty (Ashley Jeudy), Urleen (Sarah Kozlowski) and Wendy Jo (Laura Jean Spineti), Ariel soon gains the confidence to pursue her independence and assert her rightful place in her family's favor.

Tunes like "Footloose," "Let's Hear It for the Boy," "Mama Says," "Almost Paradise" and "Holding Out for a Hero" propel the plot forward while choreography is clearly the star of the show. Richard Amelius takes on the double task of director and choreographer and does a super job with both.

For tickets ($40, seniors $35, students $20, children $15), call the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton at 860-767-7318 or online at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. Performances are Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Rebellion rocks the house as rock 'n roll is put on trial, pitting Ren against the Reverend, until the rousing resolution.

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CONNECTICUT CRITICS CIRCLE