By David Lefkowitz
and Sean McGrath, Robert Simonson
22 Oct 1998
Kick off your Sunday shoes!
Tonight's the night Footloose, the new musical based on the 1984 hit film, opens at Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre.
Newcomers Jeremy Kushnier, Stephen Lee Anderson, Jennifer Laura Thompson star, alongside Broadway veterans Dee Hoty and Catherine Cox. 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
Footloose previews began Oct. 6, after the producers had an admittedly difficult time transferring the show from its Washington DC try-out to the Richard Rodgers Theatre. 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 was brought in to aid the stage adaptation of the hit 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.
Kushnier, who was in the Toronto production of Rent, stars as Ren McCormack, the teen newcomer to the rural town of Bomont [sic], 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 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 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.
Sets are by John Lee Beatty, costumes by Toni Leslie-James and lighting by Ken Billington. The musical director and vocal arranger is Doug Katsaros.
Ticket for the Broadway production are now on sale 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.
From noon to 9 PM, Oct. 22, Playbill On-Line is presenting a Footloose "Countdown To Curtain," featuring interviews with many of the show's cast-members, creators and crew. We'll also cover the backstage Gypsy Robe ceremony and offer photos taken backstage, in rehearsals and of stars arriving at the theatre for the opening night. Just keep checking our front page and news stories throughout the day and evening for full coverage of this Broadway event.