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Holding out for the operetta
Sequim High School is going to great lengths to unleash a dance frenzy for this year’s operetta.
Short of amending the city’s charter, “Footloose” begins this week in all its glam and glory, running May 2-18 at the high school auditorium, 533 N. Sequim Ave.
The staged musical is an embellished version of the 1984 film that brings all of the musical hits and more to life before you, said director Robin Hall.
“A lot of us grew up on ‘Footloose’ and Kenny Loggins’ song,” Hall said.
“There are so many songs that we all remember and for people in their 40s and 50s, this should really resonate.”
She’s chosen some standout performers in freshman Bailey Bryan as rebellious teen Ariel Moore and Austin Brock, who steps into the big shoes of Ren McCormack.
“The leads have incredible voices,” Hall said.
For those unfamiliar with the story, McCormack moves to Bomont, a small farming community that banned dancing and rock music following the suggestion of the Rev. Moore, played by Ben Heintz.
Naturally, McCormack and Moore’s daughter connect, eventually inspiring a community and rekindling a family along with plenty of dancing.
Heintz, who enters his sixth play at the high school, said the Rev. Moore is an extremely charismatic character who in some ways is likable despite being the antagonist.
“He just does some things differently,” he said.
The opportunity to play the reverend is something he jumped at. “It gives me the ability to step into someone else’s shoes for a day,” Heintz said.
“I’ve never lost a son or had a rebellious daughter, but I’ve tried to draw on similar things in my life and from the people in my life.”
Bryan sees playing Ariel as an honor: She takes the lead female role as a freshman.
“It means a lot to me that they see some potential,” she said. “The music is good and the choreography is great.”
This is her first major role and acting is something for which she finds she has a passion. She plans to act for the school for four years. Bryan especially finds Ariel to be a universal girl in many ways.
“She’s a version of what every teenage girl goes through at some point,” Bryan said.
In the musical, she’s looking forward to singing “Almost Paradise” and the acting scenes fighting with her dad (Heintz). “It’s real acting,” Bryan said. “And it’s fun to step into that because it’s something I would never do.”
With a young core of actors, the future looks bright for the theater program at the high school. “I’m looking forward to working with them (Bailey and Austin) for years to come,” Heintz said.
The operetta club brought “Footloose” to the stage first in 2002. Hall said they saw record attendance numbers that year, which she hopes carries into this repeat performance.
If people are weighing whether to watch the 1984 film or its recent remake or visit this show, Hall said it’s no contest. “There’s nothing like live theater and it’s another chance to support the students,” she said.
Heintz agrees. “You get a lot more from the live performance than the movie,” he said. “It’s an experience everyone should have at least once in their life.”
In total, 54 students of all ages perform in “Footloose.”
John Lorentzen directs the music and Anne Lorentzen leads the choreography.