Steve Powell/Staff Photos 
                                Ren (Kael Bartness) steps in to break up an argument between Aerial (Audrey Stich) and bad boy boyfriend Chuck Cranston (Landon Howe).

Steve Powell/Staff Photos Ren (Kael Bartness) steps in to break up an argument between Aerial (Audrey Stich) and bad boy boyfriend Chuck Cranston (Landon Howe).

‘Footloose’ and fancy free (slide show)

LAKEWOOD —“Now I gotta cut loose, footloose.”

That phrase in the classic song “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins is key to the musical of the same name.

Trouble is, only a few of the 37 students in Lakewood High School’s production of the play have any dancing experience.

So they’re kind of like the kids in Bomont, Utah, who grew up in a town that outlawed dancing because of a tragic accident years before.

No problem. Drama teacher Emily May and choreographer Ashley Bayha taught them to dance – kind of like actor Kevin Bacon did with the Bomont kids in the movie.

They didn’t try to make the students fancy dancers.

“It’s more about story telling,” May said Wednesday about the choreography. “It brings new life to the story.”

If you don’t know the story, Ren McCormack (junior Kael Bartness) moves with his mom Ethel (Lauren Hayes) from Chicago to Bomont. Rev. Shaw Moore (junior Sean Peacock) pretty much runs the town. His daughter Aeriel (Audrey Stich) is rebellious and has a bad-boy boyfriend Chuck Cranston (eighth-grader Landon Howe). Ren makes friends with Willard Hewitt (Alex Williams) and teaches him to dance. Spoiler alert: Dancing does commence.

“Footloose” isn’t the only song you’ll recognize. Other well-known tunes from the play include “Holding Out for a Hero” and “Let’s Hear it for the Boys.”

Along with little dancing experience, only about half of the cast has a singing background in choir. But they’ve been practicing after school since Feb. 4 for a few hours four days a week to improve their craft. “They’ve been amazing, putting in extra time, I’m not sure how much on their own,” May said. She added that only part of the cast is in her drama class, where they did watch the Broadway version of the play that they are performing.

May said many in the cast don’t have acting experience either, as the program at LHS is so new. She’s been impressed with how well they’ve memorized their lines.

“My hat’s off to them,” she said.

May continued by saying she’s encouraged them to learn the characters they are playing so if they do forget an exact line they can improvise.

“They can make up for it and fix the little mistakes,” she said.

May said each student has had to become a “triple threat performer,” learning to act, sing and dance. “They can’t be strong at one and let the other two go,” she said.

Musical director is Katy Trapp. Stage manager is Lucy Johnson. Other key acting roles are played by Anna Reitz, Lucy Johnson, Daniel Cross, Katelynn Carlson, Julia Williams, Brooke Magelsen, Lydia Nelson and Ashleigh Nelson.

In encouraging the cast to be on their game every performance, May said: “Remember for the audience it’s the first time they’ve seen it. Do you best every time.”

Want to go?

The Lakewood High School drama department is performing the play May 2-4 and 10-11 at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee also on the last day.

Cost is $10. The LHS performing arts center is at 17023 11th Ave. NE, Arlington.

The choir performs at a church service in the ‘Footloose’ musical at Lakewood High.

The choir performs at a church service in the ‘Footloose’ musical at Lakewood High.

‘Footloose’ director Emily May, left, goes over the finer points that need to be improved prior to the dress rehearsal Wednesday.

‘Footloose’ director Emily May, left, goes over the finer points that need to be improved prior to the dress rehearsal Wednesday.

Director Emily May, left, talks to the ‘Footloose’ cast about some of the finer points of the play just prior to the dress rehearsal Wednesday.

Director Emily May, left, talks to the ‘Footloose’ cast about some of the finer points of the play just prior to the dress rehearsal Wednesday.

Steve Powell/Staff Photo 
                                Ren (Kael Bartness) takes a fall on skates at his job at a fast-food joint during the ‘Footloose’ play at Lakewood High.

Steve Powell/Staff Photo Ren (Kael Bartness) takes a fall on skates at his job at a fast-food joint during the ‘Footloose’ play at Lakewood High.

Steve Powell/Staff Photo Ren (Kael Bartness) takes a fall on skates at his job at a fast-food joint during the ‘Footloose’ play at Lakewood High.

The Rev. Shaw Moore (Sean Peacock) was not impressed by Ren (Kael Bartness), whose mom Ethel (Lauren Hayes) is there for support.

The Rev. Shaw Moore (Sean Peacock) was not impressed by Ren (Kael Bartness), whose mom Ethel (Lauren Hayes) is there for support.

Ren (Kael Bartness) doesn’t make a good impression on the school principal either.

Ren (Kael Bartness) doesn’t make a good impression on the school principal either.

Ren (Kael Bartness) befriends Willard Hewitt (Alex Williams) and later teaches him to dance.

Ren (Kael Bartness) befriends Willard Hewitt (Alex Williams) and later teaches him to dance.

Aerial (Audrey Stich) sings with who friends and the ensemble ‘Let’s Hear it for the Boys.’

Aerial (Audrey Stich) sings with who friends and the ensemble ‘Let’s Hear it for the Boys.’

In the opening number of ‘Footloose’, Ren (Kael Bartness) shows early on with the ensemble that he does know how to dance.

In the opening number of ‘Footloose’, Ren (Kael Bartness) shows early on with the ensemble that he does know how to dance.

Ren (Kael Bartness) tries to make a good impression with his new classmates after moving to Bomont.

Ren (Kael Bartness) tries to make a good impression with his new classmates after moving to Bomont.

Ren (Kael Bartness) gets a lecture from his boss at the fast-food joint to be nice to customers. He seems none to impressed.

Ren (Kael Bartness) gets a lecture from his boss at the fast-food joint to be nice to customers. He seems none to impressed.

Aerial’s small group of good friends often act like they have a high opinion of themselves.

Aerial’s small group of good friends often act like they have a high opinion of themselves.

Stairs leading to a platform add to the set as cast members interact on it.

Stairs leading to a platform add to the set as cast members interact on it.

Even the cast in the background interacts in a fun way to keep the play engaging.

Even the cast in the background interacts in a fun way to keep the play engaging.

Female cast members, led by Aerial (Audrey Stich) end one of their songs in a big way.

Female cast members, led by Aerial (Audrey Stich) end one of their songs in a big way.

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