I may run out of superlatives in this review. King of Prussia Players’ FOOTLOOSE is that good!
First time director Tammie Reimer has set the bar very high for herself. The real star of the evening is choreographer Lauren McGinnis. For sheer exuberance and inventiveness, she has done a yeoman’s work here. Everybody in this youth slanted cast was dancing their socks off. From the opening number on, I was enchanted.
FOOTLOOSE is a show that is not often done. Based on the 1984 movie, which in turn was based on a true story from a small town in Oklahoma, the plot concerns a town whose laws prohibit dancing in any form. Ren McCormack is a transplant from the “big” town Chicago. He is the catalyst to make changes in the town’s laws and in the heart of the Reverend Shaw Moore who has the town council in his grip. It doesn’t hurt that Moore has a nubile rebellious daughter, Ariel, who catches Ren’s eye and heart. Add in some comedy, good songs and lots of dancing and you have the prescription for a superb evening.
Ryan McGinnis (yes, he’s the choreographer’s brother) as Ren, not only sings very well, but in his act one solo “I Can’t Stand Still” he dances up a storm. He has moves I still don’t believe. He has a well-developed character as well. Emily Fry was a beautiful and willful Ariel Moore. She has a wonderful voice and understands the character’s many sides completely. They make a terrific couple in their duet “Almost Paradise”.
A trio of young women, Rusty(Katy Griffith), Urleen (Jenna Sharples) and Wendy Jo (Becky Ginther) were wonderful in “Somebody’s Eyes”.
I was impressed with the trio of Ariel, Vi Moore (Amy Armstrong) The Reverend’s wife, and Ethel McCormick (Linda Advena) Ren’s mother. “Learning To Be Silent” was a beautiful moment. Armstrong scores again in her solo ”Can You Find It In Your Heart”.
Joe O’Neill handled the meat of the drama as Reverend Shaw Moore . He has a good stage presence and sings quite well. The bulk of the comedy in the script found a home in Anthony Garifo as Willard Hewitt, a rather backward homeboy. Like the rest of the cast, he was spot on.
The set changes, which could have seemed to take forever, were made passable by the superior band conducted by Michael Smith. The lighting used effective rear projections designed by Brittany Kleppinger, and the minimal but workable set designed by director Tammie Reimer and Dr. Lawrence Anderson added just the right touch.
All in all, Producer Laura T. Clattenburg and Music Director Keith S. Clattenburg have a production to be proud of. Get down to Shannondell and see FOOTLOOSE. I bet you will be dancing in your seat.
Music by Tom Shaw Lyrics by Dean Pitchford
Adaptation by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie
Directed by Tammie Reimer
King of Prussia Players
July 18-26 2014
Shannondell at Valley Forge
10000 Shannondell Blvd