Lakewood High School’s drama program will bring dancing to their stage as they present “Footloose” this month.
“This is a theatrical adaptation of the classic Kevin Bacon movie,” said Lakewood High School student Kael Bartness, who plays the protagonist Ren McCormack.
In the well-known story Ren comes to the town of Bomont, Utah, where dancing has been banned and leads a movement to undo the town ordinance.
“It’s really been a challenge of getting into the mindset of getting into such a brave and confident character,” said Bartness.
He said he enjoyed playing someone who takes action though.
“Instead of choosing to change for the town, he just chooses to change the town,” he said.
Lakewood High School student Sean Peacock plays the preacher who originally pushed for the dancing ban.
“He’s probably one of the more complex characters,” said Peacock.
“In the beginning he’s confident and knows what he’s doing and as it goes on he’s learning and gets more angry and then he begins to understand,” he said.
Students said they enjoyed the messages behind the story.
“I really like the theme behind it of fighting the system,” said stage manager Lucy Johnson.
“I think it’s a really powerful message and story about how important it is to listen to our youth,” said drama teacher Emily May.
Lakewood’s production is from the theatrical version of the story, which is a musical.
“It’s surprisingly quite different from the movie,” said Bartness.
“We’re singing and performing all the songs, and with that extra layer of visualization I think it adds something special,” he said.
Bartness said that the energy is very high for the show and he thinks people will enjoy that.
“It features a lot of great music and a lot of great dancing,” he said.
Lakewood High School student Alex Williams said the audience will like all the dancing.
“It’s not something that Lakewood has ever done before,” he said.
Students have been working with a choreographer to put on big dance numbers as part of the show. This is the first time the theater program is attempting to do that.
“It’s also unlike anything I’ve done before,” said Williams, who added he pulled some hamstrings while rehearsing. “In fact, I’m still recovering, kind of put me out for a couple of weeks,” he said.
May said she wanted dance to be part of the show, especially considering the story.
“For Footloose that’s the first thing that people think about,” she said.
“I think that’s the part that our student body felt the most hesitant about, and that’s why I wanted to push us in that direction, because this is something we can do. If we really want to have this theater program we have to keep going on to the next level,” she said.
The play will also feature one of the more complex set pieces the program has ever attempted as well.
“It’s been a technically advanced show for us because we haven’t had this big of a set piece with a second level,” said Johnson.
“At first it was complicated because we didn’t get it finished until last week, so during dance it was hard to be like ‘oh, we will be on the bridge here,’” she said.
The drama program has a bigger stage to work with and can try larger set pieces ever since the new Lakewood High School opened.
“This is only our second year in this building with our awesome new performing arts facility and we had about six or seven parent volunteers who were able to safely construct a second level,” said May.
“It’s been really exciting and the kids have liked the process of it going up and getting to dance on it,” she said.
Lakewood High School will present Footloose on May 2, 3, 4, 10 and 11, at 7 p.m., and at a matinee performance on May 11 at 2 p.m.
The performance is at the high school at 17023 11th Ave. NE, Arlington.
Admissions is $10 or $8 for students with an ASB card.