Footloose, the new musical based on the 1984 hit film, was greeted by raucous applause at its first preview Oct. 6 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Cheers from fans and insiders greeted many of the staged pop songs made famous in the picture. That first preview went off without a major technical glitch.
The next preview of the musical is scheduled for the evening of Oct. 7. The Oct. 7 matinee of Footloose was canceled some time ago, apparently to allow for further rehearsals leading toward the slated Oct. 22 opening.
Prior to the cancellation, the first preview was scheduled to play Oct. 2, but a difficult load-in delayed that to Oct. 6.
Why is the load-in taking longer than anticipated? Dodger Endemol Theatrical producer Michael David said in a statement, "We are moving...from one of the largest theatres in the country, the Opera House at the Kennedy Center, to one of the smallest musical houses on Broadway, the Richard Rodgers Theatre. In addition, we have...37 actors and the pre requisite support team who have to all fit backstage. It's an extraordinary 3-D jigsaw puzzle." As reported by the New York Post (Sept. 23), Grease! choreographer Jeff Calhoun has been brought in to aid the Broadway-bound adaptation of the hit 1984 film. According to Boneau/Bryan-Brown spokesperson Susanne Tighe (Sept. 23), "A.C. Ciulla (choreographer) and Walter Bobbie (director) have invited Jeff in to bounce ideas off of...to work as, sort of, an editor to some of the dances."
Footloose also made news Sept. 9 when actor Martin Vidnovic was replaced by his understudy, Stephen Lee Anderson, during the show's Washington D.C. dates.
In happier news, a U.S. tour of Footloose is already in the planning stages. According to show spokesperson Susanne Tighe, the road company will begin rehearsals in New York Nov. 9 -- a little over two weeks after the Broadway debut. The tour will then begin previews in Cleveland Dec. 15.
As for DC/Broadway, Jeremy Kushnier (the Toronto production of Rent) stars as Ren McCormack, the teen newcomer to a rural town where dancing is banned as sinful and dangerous. The story follows his acceptance into the local crowd, the winning of a girlfriend, and his battle with the local fundamentalist preacher, Reverend Shaw Moore (Stephen Lee Anderson).
Co-starring are two-time Tony nominee Dee Hoty (The Will Rogers Follies, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public) as Vi Moore, the Reverend's wife; Jennifer Laura Thompson (national tour of Carousel) as Ariel Moore, the Reverend's rebellious daughter, with whom Ren falls in love; Catherine Cox (Baby) as Ethel McCormick; and Tom Plotkin (Forbidden Broadway Strikes Back) as Ren's friend, Willard Hewitt.
Also in the cast are Robin Baxter, Catherine Campbell, Rosalind Brown, John Deyle, Staci Francis, Billy Hartung, John Hillner, Adam LeFevre, Donna Lee Marshall, Nick Sullivan, and Kathy Deitch.
Ensemble players include Jim Ambler, Billy Angell, Susan Bigelow, Angela Brydon, Ben Cameron, Bryant Carroll, Paul Castree, Hunter Foster, Kristen Leigh Gorski, Jamie Gustis, Artie Harris, Sean Haythe, Elizabeth Paige Hinton, Lori Holmes, Katherine Leonard, Brad Madison, Jeanine Meyers, Mary K. Myars, Orfeh [sic], JoAnna Ross and Serena Soffer.
The original film had a cast including Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, Diane Wiest, John Lithgow, Christopher Penn and Sarah Jessica Parker. Its songs lingered on the pop charts for months. The musical's score includes many of those Top 40 hits, such as "Footloose," "Let's Hear It for the Boy," "Almost Paradise," and "Holding Out for a Hero," by the likes of Kenny Loggins, Eric Carmen, Sammy Hagar and Jim Steinman (Steinman did lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Whistle Down the Wind), plus nine new songs written for this stage adaptation by Tom Snow. The lyrics are by Dean Pitchford. The stage adaptation is by Pitchford and director Walter Bobbie. The choreographer is theatre newcomer A.C. Ciulla, whose credits include several acclaimed music videos.
Here is the Footloose songlist, as of the first preview:
"Footloose" -- Ren and Company
"On Any Sunday" -- Rev. Shaw, Moore and Company
"The Girl Gets Around" -- Chuck, Ariel, Travis and Lyle
"I Can't Stand Still" -- Ren
"Somebody's Eyes" -- Rusty, Wendy Jo, Urleen and Company
"Learning To Be Silent" -- Vi, Ethel
"Holding Out For A Hero" -- Ariel, Rusty, Wendy Jo and Urleen
"Somebody's Eyes" (reprise) -- Rusty, Wendy Jo and Urleen "Heaven Help Me" -- Shaw
"I'm Free/Heaven Help Me/On Any Sunday" -- Ren, Shaw and Company
"Still Rockin'" -- Irene and the Country Kickers
"Let's Hear It For the Boy" -- Rusty and Company
"Can You Find It In Your Heart?" -- Vi
"Mama Says" -- Willard and the Boys
"Almost Paradise" -- Ren and Ariel
"Dancing Is Not A Crime" -- Ren and the Boys
"I Confess" -- Shaw
"On Any Sunday" (reprise) -- Company
"Can You Find It In Your Heart?" (reprise) -- Shaw
"Footloose" (reprise) -- Company
Ticket for the Broadway production are now on ê Ticketmaster at (212) 307-4100. Outside the metro NY area: (800) 755-4000. Tickets for the DC Kennedy Center production are on sale by calling (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444 1324.