Kick off your Friday, Saturday, and Sunday shoes.

Kamille Ritchie and David Kennon

Footloose took to the stage at CAC’s Don P. Pence Center October 23 through 25. While it wowed many audience members I wasn’t as enthusiastic as some. After attending two of the three performances, my feelings towards the play are mixed. To be honest, Footloose was not the best play I have seen in the Pence. I think the actors’ enthusiasm and phenomenal abilities got me through those two and and a half hours. The main issue I have with Footloose is its plot.

If you are like me and never saw the original Footloose, you can still predict the plot of the play. City Boy moves to small town. City Boy is ostracized by town for his “unorthodox” and rebellious ways. Throw in conflicting factors, in this case, Religion. City Boy meets Girl, in this case the Preacher’s daughter and secret rebel. City Boy likes Girl. Girl is dating town’s Bad Boy. Girl breaks up with Bad Boy. Girl dates City Boy. City Boy and Girl along with others fight to change town’s uptight ways. They succeed. Footloose. Perhaps, I’m wrong, I did enjoy it more the second night. The crowd of people that attended certainly liked it. Perhaps, I just don’t like predictability. The promotion of rebellious attitude towards adults was another reason I was not thrilled with Footloose. Three detrimental ideas are present throughout the play: If you disagree with something an adult says, it’s okay to rebel against them; you will eventually have your way. Adults do not know what’s best for them and the kids have it all figured out. It also tells the kids their position in life is to teach adults lessons and not the other way around. There is no equal exchange of advice or lessons. Adults learn from the kids and any lessons the kids learn comes from their peers. The cast deserves a round of applause because they sold the plot and they sold it well.

Although my feelings for the plot stand, I did appreciate the cast and their talents. Not only were the songs catchy, but darn, were they sung well. I have to give personal props to Anthony Reyna, because he was one of the few unexpected highlights I experienced while watching the play. The same goes to Jackie Ibarra, who brought the house down with “Let’s Hear it for the Boy”. You might not expect such an amazing voice to come from such a tiny package. Not to say, there weren’t others, Stacey Seaman, Kim Osteen-Petreshock, and Haleigh Turner’s rendition of “Learning to be Silent” was my favorite song of the night. Its subtle message of female oppression was one many could relate to. Anyone else who watched the play might ask me, “Do you wish Footloose had more dancing?” Do you know what the answer would be, America? Yes! After all, the play is about dancing. When dancing did occur, was it good? Yes. Was it well executed? For the most part, yes. I only wish I saw more. Hands down, the best dance piece was the finale. Here, you see the actors’ personalities shine in the moves. It genuinely looked like a good time. Throw in bright lights, glittery curtains, and billowing smoke, they really brought the show home.

With all this talk about the performance of Footloose, you can’t forget about what goes on behind the scenes. Thank you, Jerry Deall and your production team, for setting the mood and expressing the essence of each scene. There was not one moment things were left at “good enough.” That is something I find truly admirable. No matter how good a cast can act, sing, or dance, a wrong setting can ruin the mood. CAC’s Theatre group has a different attitude from the juvenile mind set you might find in a high school production. Despite the outcome of the final performance, the cast remained serious about Footloose throughout the progress. Even in rehearsal, they strived to be better each time they ran through a scene. Sadly, even with these efforts, there was still issues with casting.

The cast for this play was just too big; a good portion were asked to join the play, because of lack of attendance at the auditions. This attempt to fill all the roles with non-actors was fruitless as many actors still had to double up on their roles. This did not allow actors to fully embody their characters. The lack of acting talent led to other problems that could be readily seen. The director had to put the vast majority of his time and focus on these non-actors; he was forced to guide them through the fundamentals, so the play would not crash and burn. Thankfully, he was successful in that aspect; but that did not allow for the good actors, that innately gave a good performance, to take their character development to the next level with a little bit of good direction. While the play was decent, this did not allow for any “wow” moments, which left me feeling unexcited and not involved.

What I did take away from the show was a few good laughs; any show that does that is alright in my book. There are definitely a couple of quotes I’d like to use in my own life. If you are ever in a romantic tussle with your significant other about parking in a handicapped parking space, throw this little gem at them, “That space [referring to a handicapped spot] is reserved for people with physical, not emotional, disabilities.” If you went to Footloose, it would be for that line. Congratulations to Director Dr. John Owens, Co-Directors, Stacey Seaman and Karen Burns, Musical Director, Dr. Kim Osteen-Petreshock, and of course, Footloose cast members. You guys pulled off a “bitchin” show!} else {