Kick off your Sunday shoes and get back to the 80's with Encore! at Grayslake Central High School as they present Footloose the Musical.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Fri., Nov. 17; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sat., Nov. 18; and 2 p.m. Sun., Nov. 19 in the school's auditorium, 400 N. Lake St., Grayslake. Tickets are $10 for the general public or $8 for students/senior citizens and can be purchased in advance at https://d127.ticketleap.com/footloose/ or at the door.
"Footloose is a celebration of the power of artistic expression to heal grief and bring communities together. It's also a rollicking good time, a throwback to an era where hair was bigger and ties were skinnier," director and Encore! student theatre sponsor Maureen Ritter said. "It's impossible not to jam out to the iconic Footloose theme or classics like 'Let's Hear it For the Boy' and 'Holding Out For a Hero.'"
Reeling from the desertion of his father, Ren McCormick is uprooted from Chicago and lands in the small town of Bomont where he clashes with town elders, particularly the preacher whose grief at losing his own son has convinced him to outlaw dancing. With the help of Ariel, Reverend Shaw's rebellious daughter, and friends newly inspired to challenge Bomont's oppressive culture, Ren reminds the entire town that while there is a time to mourn, there is also a time to dance.
When the movie was released in 1984, Footloose was initially dismissed as yet another teen flick, but became a cultural phenomenon for teens of the 1980's, including Mary Bassett of Hainesville, whose daughter Lyndsey (senior) plays Ariel.
"Being a teenager in the 80's, Footloose was a favorite of mine. Even today, when the songs come on the radio I can't help singing along! Now that Lyndsey and everyone in the production is enjoying the excitement of Footloose, it's giving them a chance to connect with their parents and remember that they were also teenagers once. It's been so much fun seeing Lyndsey singing and dancing to the songs of my younger years."
Footloose was written by Dean Pitchford with music by Tom Snow, and the 1984 film was directed by Herbert Ross. Lyrics for the Grammy-nominated movie soundtrack were written by Pitchford with additional music by Eric Carmen, Sammy Hagar, Kenny Loggins, and Jim Steinman. The movie soundtrack spent 10 weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts, stealing the top spot from Michael Jackson's Thriller.
Almost 15 years after Footloose's cinematic success, Pitchford and Walter Bobbie adapted the screenplay for the stage to create Footloose the Musical, featuring nostalgic favorites and new tracks. The show opened on Broadway in 1998 and was nominated for 4 Tony awards including Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical. The original cast recording was nominated for a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album. Footloose was also remade in a 2011 film directed by Craig Brewer.
"All the musicians in the pit have been practicing for months to make this the best show yet," said Corinne Heidloff (sophomore) of Grayslake. "I hope everyone enjoys Footloose as much as we do!"
Grayslake Central students and teachers began working on their Footloose production over the summer with design workshops and dance classes, and kicked off rehearsals and tech days when school began in August. In addition to their on-stage work, students are also responsible for off-stage aspects including building scenery, creating costumes, designing lighting and sound, managing the box office, preparing programs, performing in the pit orchestra, and publicizing the shows.
"Footloose has been one of the most difficult shows that I've designed costumes for, which is not to say that I didn't enjoy it," said Ro Mercer (junior) from Grayslake, who heads the costume crew. "This was also one of my favorite shows because of the nature of 80's fashion and the creative freedom I had in the design, as well as working with those who lived in that era as they got to see their old pieces see a new day on stage in Footloose."
"A company of over 100 students is working hard to deliver an authentic 80's experience, and they are excited to rock out with you, " added Ritter.
For information about Grayslake Central's Footloose performances and tickets, visit https://d127.ticketleap.com/footloose/.