‘Footloose’ is humorous, upbeat & fun

Reviewed by Nancy Drago
Times-News correspondent

From left to right: Dakarai Ince, Linnea Bethany Coon, Gary Stirewalt and Melia McGuire rehearse a scene from Teen 2 Teen Theatre's production of "Footloose." / Walter Boyd, Special to the Times-News

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, Teen 2 Teen Theatre is presenting “Footloose” this weekend only at the Paramount Theater, 128 E. Front St., Burlington.
The stage adaptation is written by Dean Pitchford (who also wrote the original screenplay) and Walter Bobbie with music by Tom Snow and lyrics by Dean Pitchford. Additional musical numbers are provided by Eric Carmen, Sammy Hagar, Kenny Loggins and Jim Steinman.
The show opens with a music number as a young man named Ren (Dakarai Ince) says goodbye to his friends in the city. Ren and his mother arrive in the small town of Bomont, Ga., and move in with Ren’s aunt and uncle. We first meet the people of Bomont in church. They are curious about Ren because he is new and different from the people within the town. Because of his difference, though, the townspeople end up being not accepting of Ren. He is suspended from school and loses several jobs.
Bomont is not your ordinary town, though. It is small and the townspeople are involved with the church. In fact, Reverend Shaw (Gary Stirewalt) has so much influence that he successfully passed a law several years before that outlaws dancing because it can lead to other negative behaviors. The reverend’s daughter, Ariel (Linnea Bethany), struggles with the beliefs and restrictions placed on the town by her father. She rebels by becoming involved with a young man named Chuck, who is abusive toward her.
   The actors have great on-stage chemistry. Linnea Bethany and Eliya Watson, who plays Ariel’s friend Rusty, have an on-stage friendship that seems natural and authentic. Jerry Byers and Dakarai Ince’s interactions as Ren and Willard are both funny and truthful. The lead teen characters all have internal struggles that they overcome to work together as a team and take on the city council. The seriousness of the show has humorous and upbeat scenes that give the show a nice flow. The complexity of the different romantic relationships between the teen and adult couples is evidenced in the dialogue and music. Melia McGuire as Vi Moore, the Reverend’s wife, grieves for her husband’s old self.
For the first time in Teen 2 Teen Theatre history, a live orchestra is performing for the show and director Carol Plew and musical director Samantha Saake are excited about what it adds to the production, especially when the iconic “Footloose” song is performed.
The actors show a lot of energy and are not afraid to play the stage. The dancers do a fantastic job with the choreography taught by Natasha Tyler, and dancers from Amber’s House of Dance in Burlington even help out in a couple of the numbers.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Paramount Theater. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students and seniors and can be purchased between noon and 3 p.m. today through Saturday or one hour prior to show time at the box office. Credit card reservations can be made by calling 336-222-TIXS.

Nancy Drago is a freshman at Chapel Hill High School and a Teens & 20s writer. 

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