'Footloose The Musical' at Pa. Playhouse bursts with energy from area
OF THE MORNING CALL
August 4, 2009''Footloose: The Musical,'' which opened Friday at
Pennsylvania Playhouse, is an excellent production bursting with youthful
The dancing is exhilarating, beginning with the opening number, when the
stage fills with young people athletically jumping, spinning and pounding
their feet in unison.
The musical is based on the 1984 cult movie starring Kevin Bacon and
incorporates popular '80s songs as well as music written specifically for
The talented cast of 40 includes many students and recent graduates.
Parkland grad Drew Moyer makes a likeable hero as Ren McCormack, the high
school senior who wants to organize a dance in a small-minded town where
dancing is against the law. Moyer has a commanding stage presence and is
an athletic dancer. Saucon Valley grad Larissa Colangelo is fetching as
the bad-girl/good-girl preacher's daughter, Ariel, and Ren's love
Matthew Walczer makes Rev. Shaw Moore, the minister who opposes dancing
and other kind of fun, sympathetic especially when the real reason for his
opposition comes out.
All the characters are good, but the best parts of the show undoubtedly
are the production numbers. Kudos to director Ann Marie Squerrini and
dance choreographer Mariel Letourneau.
Vince Rostkowski imbues town bad boy Chuck Cranston with plenty of
attitude. A number with two of his biker cronies, ''The Girl Gets
Around,'' features great harmonies and a truly inventive use of pipes to
create the illusion of motorcycles.
Colangelo's big number, ''Holding Out For a Hero,'' is another highlight.
Strongly backed by the girl trio of Colleen Maurer, Bethany Nothstein and
Sydney Yonak, Colangelo makes the song, familiar from the radio, her own.
The addition of athletic dancers dressed as heroes -- a Boy Scout, a
sailor and even a businessman with a Superman shirt peeking out -- had the
whole audience clapping.
Jose Calvo plays local yokel and Ren's buddy Willard Hewitt, whose
showstopper number, ''Mama Says,'' is also a comedic high point.
Other great numbers include the paranoic ''Somebody's Eyes,'' the power
duet ''Almost Paradise'' and the iconic title song which opens and closes
The focus on dancing is enhanced by the minimalist industrial set that
changes scenes with simple props such as benches for the church and tables
for the teen's burger joint. Grafitti adds a humorous touch. Look for a
nod to the film's original star.
The six-person orchestra provides a big sound that matches the exuberant
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