Countdown To Footloose: Actress JENNIFER LAURA THOMPSON

News   Countdown To Footloose: Actress JENNIFER LAURA THOMPSON
 
Footloose star Jennifer Laura Thompson will fulfill a dream tonight -- starring in her first Broadway show.
Jennifer Laura Thompson posing backstage with her wig; and with her co-star Jeremy Kushnier.
Jennifer Laura Thompson posing backstage with her wig; and with her co-star Jeremy Kushnier. Photo by Photo (left) by Starla Smith; Photo (right) by Joan Marcus

Footloose star Jennifer Laura Thompson will fulfill a dream tonight -- starring in her first Broadway show.

Thompson told Playbill On-Line, "This is the ultimate thing that I've dreamed about since I came to New York".

It's certainly not her first high profile gig, having finished the national tour of Carousel as Julie Jordan and doing Strike Up the Band for the Encores! series at City Center. But a Broadway lead is quite a different story.

"Coming in to the theatre each night knowing that I'll be performing that night and not just seeing the show is thrilling. With Broadway, the biggest difference is the stakes are just so much higher," said Thompson.

Thompson started her journey to the Great White Way eight years ago, moving to New York right after getting out of school at the University of Michigan. Through those eight years she's played everything from Louisa in the long-running Fantasticks to going out to San Francisco for the Broadway Bound High Society -- not receiving that big boost until last year's Carousel tour. "I was actually doing the tour of Carousel when I got a call from my agent to come back to New York to audition for the Footloose workshop. I was surprised they were doing it (a musical version of the Kevin Bacon film) and I didn't know how it would work, because when I thought of the movie, I thought of it in terms of all the stunts and the dances."

But the workshop was a success and so was Thompson's performance, enabling her to originate a role in a Broadway musical rather than follow in somebody else's footsteps. "I have license to create more of the character," stated Thompson. "There are fewer boundaries than when working on a finished show." And how has the movie influenced her portrayal? "I haven't looked at the movie since I got the role, I didn't want this to be a cookie-cutter version of Lori Singer's Ariel."

In Footloose, Ariel is a resident of a small Midwestern town where the preacher (her father) has banned dancing and rock and roll until a new student (Ren McCormick) enters the high school and changes everything. For Thompson the show is not just a simple romance with catchy tunes but resonates in many ways. She told Playbill On-Line, "The show is not just about censorship but the suppressing of creative desire, the suppressing of that creative energy that makes us who we are."

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