ACU theatre is cutting loose.
The theatre’s spring musical, Footloose, will open this weekend. It’s a story about standing up for your heart and overcoming the hardships life can throw at you.
Footloose will be showing in Fulks Theatre in the Williams Performing Arts Center April 12-13, 19-20 and 26-27. Tickets are $15 and groups of 10 or more may receive a $5 discount per ticket.
“This is definitely a show where people will walk away singing the songs,” said Amanda Jarufe, senior musical theatre major from Coppell. “The show is full of astonishing dance numbers and songs the entire family can enjoy.”
Jarufe will be playing the role of the reverend’s daughter, Ariel.
Jarufe said Dawne Meekes, director of the show, did a wonderful job of cutting the adult content out of the show, so it’s appropriate for ages 10 and up.
Footloose first appeared as a movie in 1984. The remake was released in 2011.
Caryn Esch, junior musical theatre major from Longview, is playing Ariel’s best friend, Rusty. She said the musical is similar to the movies.
“It had a little bit more language then even I remembered, so we toned down that a bit, but really the story is the same familiar one that everybody loves,” she said. “It’s just added in with music, these great songs we all get to sing, and it’s all these ‘80s classics.”
Esch said the cast began rehearsing the week before spring break. She said they rehearse from 7 – 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and all day Saturday.
She said working out has been helpful in preparation for the physical demands of singing and dancing. She said the best thing about playing Rusty is getting to sing “Let’s Hear it for the Boy.” She said she also enjoys working with her opposite, Eean Cochran, who plays Willard.
Cochran, junior musical theatre major from Trophy Club, has been performing in musicals since his early high school years.
“I knew I wanted to do Footloose because it’s a musical and there’s a lot of dancing in that, so it’s really super fun,” he said.
Cochran described himself as a “dancer first.” However, Willard is a character who originally does not know how to dance. He said being a dancer and playing that role was “kind of weird.”
He also said he is “having a blast with it.”
With ACU’s dance ban being lifted last year, this musical has more implications than one might think. Standing up for what you believe in is a value close to the hearts of ACU students.
“It was so important to me that through this process we did not create fluffy caricatures,” said Dawne Meekes, associate professor of theatre, “I really wanted to make sure that these characters were grounded in a truthful place and that we explored some of the tougher issues, some of the grittiness.”
This musical is a chance for students to see opposition in a new light. Rather than making the show about judgment and rebellion, the students are attempting to send a message of restoration and reconciliation.
Performers in the show are faced with the challenge of deciding how they will portray these “close-minded” and “rebellious” characters on the stage.
Perhaps the most challenging character is the reverend, played by Jacob Alexander, sophomore musical theatre major from Amarillo.
“It would be really easy to play the reverend as a villain, who has no justification for the way he is thinking,” said Alexander, “but what we wanted to do is make it a little more complicated for the audience so we really tried to go into the text and discuss why he has to be this opposition to the story.”
Students are being invited to watch this show to have a good time and to see what it means to understand another person who doesn’t share their perspective.
“The whole point is that we have to step back and try and put ourselves in someone else’s shoes before we mark them off as good guy or bad guy,” Alexander said.
Tickets can be purchased by calling (325) 674-2787 or online at acu.edu/theatre.
Melany Cox and Katie Williamson contributed to this report.
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