‘Footloose’ blasts from the past

  • By Mike Murray / Herald Writer
  • Thursday, August 5, 2004 9:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

The Everett Performing Arts Center has been bouncing to an ’80s beat this summer, as high-spirited teenagers from throughout Snohomish County get ready to get footloose beginning today.

The kids are starring in Village Theatre’s Kidstage production of “Footloose,” a fast-paced musical based on the 1984 movie of the same name that opens tonight for six performances.

This is Village Theatre’s SummerStock production, and it features a cast of more than 40 in a show written in the mode of a classic Broadway musical: strong story combined with a memorable score.

The original movie, which starred Kevin Bacon as a city kid exiled to a small town in Texas where the residents don’t dance, is a time capsule of ’80s music.

The songs include the anthem “Let’s Hear it For the Boy,” the sweet duet “Almost Paradise” and the “gotta-dance” title song “Footloose,” a rockin’ tune guaranteed to stay in your head long after the final curtain.

Additional songs were added when the movie was adapted for the Broadway stage; among the contributors were Kenny Loggins and Sammy Haggar.

The music and the exuberant dance sequences are what make “Footloose” fun, but there’s a story to be told here, said director R.J. Tancioco.

Tancioco, musical director of numerous Village Theatre productions, has been involved with Kidstage for nearly a decade. A vocal coach, teacher, composer and arranger, his musical directing credits include “Hair,” “A Chorus Line,” “Peter Pan” and the just-closed “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

This is his first time in the director’s chair, and Tancioco says he’s having a blast.

The cast is strong, with young performers who can sing, dance and act, and Tancioco is convinced that having high-school students play these youthful roles is a key to giving “Footloose” its youthful zip.

A grade-schooler when “Footloose” the movie opened, Tancioco said the music was everywhere when he was kid.

Communication, or lack of it, is a big part of “Footloose,” which follows the story of Ren, who moves with his mother to a small, religious town where dancing is prohibited.

Ren soon locks horns with the strait-laced Rev. Moore, but persists with the idea that the high school should hold a dance so that the kids can … be kids.

There’s conflict all around – among the students as well as between the young people and the adults.

The grown-ups in “Footloose” are so uptight they are even suspicious of their own children. Tancioco has smoothed out the script and tinkered here and there to make the adults less one-dimensional and more sympathetic.

The two-act show comes in at just under two hours. “It’s nice and tight and a complete story,” he said. “You don’t want anymore.”

While this production is not a nostalgia trip, “Footloose” nonetheless is deeply rooted it in the 1980s.

Today’s kids relate to the music. And the wildly popular success of TV’s “American Idol” is bringing back popular music, Tancioco said.

“In the ’80s we still had melodies in songs.”

“Footloose”

A Village Theatre Kidstage SummerStock production opens at 7:30 tonight at the Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett. Additional performances at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 13 and 14, 2 p.m. Aug. 15. Tickets, $7-$9 at the box office, 425-257-8600.

“Footloose”

A Village Theatre Kidstage SummerStock production opens at 7:30 tonight at the Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett. Additional performances at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 13 and 14, 2 p.m. Aug. 15. Tickets, $7-$9 at the box office, 425-257-8600.

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