By Samantha Stiller — Contributing Editor
Spend a night sometime in the next two weeks at the Sylvia Beard Theatre, where you can find a stellar cast of performers put on a wonderful rendition of FOOTLOOSE! I saw it opening weekend Sunday afternoon, and all I can say is that the matinee was sold out for good reason!
This is a wonderful take on the musical that opened on Broadway in 1998, starring the very talented Jeremy Kushner and Jennifer Laura Thompson. It is based on the 1984 movie and a book by Pitchford and Walter Bobbie. Music is by Tom Snow, Dean Pitchford and Kenny Loggins.
The show opens in Chicago, where Ren McCormack, a spunky teenage boy, is moving to the small town of Bomont with his mother after his dad abandons them. Once they arrive, Ren finds himself at odds with most of the town, including the Reverend of Bomont. The Reverend has convinced the town to outlaw dancing, which Ren does not know how to deal with. He enlists the help of the Reverend’s beautiful daughter, Ariel, and a slightly clueless mama’s boy named Willard, and tries to change the minds of Bomont.
Director Julie Skrzypek, Musical Director Nick Silverstein, and Choreographer Kari Twyman layed down a beautiful groundwork for their cast. The harmonies of the show paired with the upbeat dance moves and the tasteful character work set the stage perfectly.
Sterling McMlary, portraying Ren, brings a delightful energy to the role. With out-of-this-world riffs and funky dance moves, McMlary makes you want to “kick off your Sunday shoes” right along with him!
Rosa K. Campos, playing Ariel, does a lovely job of bringing the preacher’s daughter to life. Her killer dance moves and angelic vocals bring the house down.
Speaking of the preacher, Bryant Smith as Revered Shaw Moore along with his wife Vi, played by Erin Burnett, inject an emotional layer to the show, reminding the audience of the challenges parents can have in guiding offspring while struggling with their own issues.
Corey Bryant as Willard Hewitt and Maggie Salley as Rusty kept the audience laughing with their quirky chemistry and when Corey finally busted out a move it was incredibly funny and on-point.
Other notable standouts include Benny Higgins as Coach Dunbar, Latrice Pace as Ethel, Kari Twyman as Wendy Jo, Emily Topper as Urleen, Stephanie Zandra as Lulu, and Tierney Breedlove as Betty Blast.
All in all, Theatre Buford presents audiences with a delightful rendition of Footloose! The show runs until April 28th, and there’s still time to get your tickets.