By SUE SUCHYTA
With upbeat dance numbers and popular hit songs, “Footloose the Musical,” based on the popular movie, is poised to set toes tapping and hearts soaring as the teen Guildlings brings their magic to the Players Guild of Dearborn as their summer production.
The show, with music by Tom Snow and lyrics by Dean Pitchford, runs 7:30 p.m. July 21 to 23, and 2:30 p.m. July 24 at the theater, 21730 Madison in Dearborn.
For tickets, call 313-561-TKTS or go to playersguildofdearborn.org.
When Ren and his mother move from Chicago to a small farming town, they expect an adjustment period. However, Ren isn’t prepared for the ban on dancing enforced by a local preacher, who tries to control the local teens while at odds with his own rebellious daughter Ariel.
When Ariel and Ren’s friendship deepens, they must try to find a way to communicate with the adults who would keep them apart.
Marc Walentowicz of Garden City directs the show, with assistant director Kori Bielaniec of Westland, musical director Mary Melonio of Livonia and choreographer Emma Garber of Dearborn.
Chris and Tracey Boudreau of Dearborn are producing the show.
Walentowicz said the musical is similar to the movie but not the same, and there is more dancing throughout.
“A lot of the songs are very familiar,” Walentowicz said. “Everyone knows ‘Footloose,’ ‘Holding out for a Hero,’ ‘Let’s Hear It for the Boy.’ These are iconic songs. That’s what will get you in there, and then you will be surprised by a lot of original material.”
Garber, a lifelong dancer, said she is excited to be choreographing the show.
“The large group numbers are so exciting, the kids get all pumped up,” she said. “The smaller numbers, you get to personalize it, and I can showcase specific talents.”
Garber said she recommends people see the show for its energy and excitement.
“The kids are super talented, they all have their hearts in it,” she said. “The singing is awesome, the scenes are funny, and it is an overall great show with a great cast.”
Madelyn Kaplan of Dearborn, who plays Ariel, said she was eager to play a different type of role.
“I’ve always played the sweet ingenue or the love interest,” Kaplan said. “This is a different type of love interest. She’s defiant, especially with anyone who tries to come close to her.”
Kaplan said the dancing influences the mood of the show even more than the music, and this is the most fun she has ever had rehearsing a show.
“The cast is wonderful, and I have made so many new friends,” she said. “Our director is wonderful, and our choreographer is really out of this world.”
Rebekah Preiss of Dearborn Heights, who plays Rusty, said she likes playing a romantic character, and she is excited to be singing the solo “Let’s Hear it for the Boy.”
Preiss said the cast has grown close during the rehearsal process.
“Everyone fits together like a puzzle,” Preiss said. “We all come from different places and schools, but we kind of clicked, and that’s really rare and really nice.”
Karim Hazime of Dearborn, who plays Ren McCormack, said he watched the movie when he was younger and was eager to play Ren.
He said that while people will recognize the song “Footloose,” the music and dancing throughout the show are different from the movie.
“The music and dancing is completely different,” he said. “The acting is similar, but there are so many more songs and many more dances.”
Also in the cast are Dearborn residents Matthew Apostle as Willard Hewitt, Trevor Berry as Chuck Cranston, Molly Boudreau as Eleanor Dunbar, Grace Bertucci as Urleen, Graham Dallas as the Reverend Shaw Moore, Alia Elhajj as ensemble, Marjorie Gaber as Wendy Jo, Katie Garber as Betty Blast and Cowgirl Bobbie, Nathaniel Hermen as Travis, Kayla Katona as ensemble, Kyle Polidori as Cowboy Bob and Lyle, and Heather Slanec as Vi Moore.
Others in the cast are Dearborn Heights residents Ryan Chatila as Wes Warnicker and Adam Chatila as Coach Roger Dunbar; Ian Haas of Inkster as Principal Harry, Quinn Higgins of South Lyon as Lulu Warnicker, Anthony Pierzynowski and Isabel Pierzynowski of Taylor as ensemble, and Hailey Hayward of Wayne as Ethel McCormack.
WSU PRESENTS ‘THE TRUE STORY OF THE THREE LITTLE PIGS’
Wayne State University presents “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” at 10:30 a.m. July 12 to 16, and 1 p.m. July 16 at the Hilberry Theatre, 4743 Cass in Detroit.
Tickets are $5 for children 12 and under, and $8 for teens and adults, with $5 admission for groups of 10 or more. Hilberry 2016-17 season subscribers receive complimentary tickets.
For more information, or to order, call 313-577-2972 or go to theatreanddance.wayne.edu.
The musical comedy by Robert Kauzlaric, Paul Gilvary and William Rush, based on the book by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, gives the Big, Bad Wolf his say during a Piggsylvania trial. Will his explanation of an ill-timed sneeze prevail over the pigs’ fancy puppet show? Come and decide for yourself.