NORTHVILLE – The curtain is ready to rise on “Footloose,” an energetic stage production of the classic ’80s film. The Northville Central School Drama Club production debuts in the school auditorium on Friday at 7 p.m.
Two additional performances will follow on Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m.
“The show’s announcement came with lots of excitement, especially after the cast listened to the music!” said director Samantha Boyle in a press release. “There is so much to look forward to in this show — awesome 80’s hits, high-energy dancing and lots of laughs.”
Added highlights of this year’s production also include a live band, led by local musician Phil Schuyler, and Northville staff, alumni and community members performing alongside the students and behind the scenes.
“Footloose” tells the story of Ren McCormack, a dance-obsessed high school student who moves from Chicago to a small town where dancing has been outlawed after local teens died in a car crash coming home from a dance.
Ren teams up with the local pastor’s daughter, Ariel Moore, to look for a way for the town’s adults and young people to work through their collective grief to establish common ground and find joy again.
Northville’s “Footloose” cast is led by drama veterans and seniors Harry Downing and Rachel Williams, playing Ren and Ariel. Both actors have found the challenge of their respective roles rewarding.
“The sass and daredevil attitude of Ariel is what drew me in,” said Williams in the release. “It’s so fun to act carefree and crazy. At the same time, playing a more serious role has been a challenge, but I feel this is a good challenge to become a better actress. I also find Ariel to be relatable, because she struggles with things I have struggled with before.”
Downing said playing Ren “has truly been the best experience I could ask for. I loved the idea of a high school boy attempting to change the ways of a stubborn town for the better. Playing Ren got me more excited for this show than I have been for any other production.”
As excited as he was, Downing said he knew he had to embrace one specific challenge. “I was never the strongest dancer,” Downing said, “so getting to play a character who is so into dance has been a fun struggle. I have loved how much this musical has pushed me to grow and become more comfortable on stage.”
Boyle said in the release that she also “knew this show would be a challenge. Many of these kids do not have a lot of dance experience. ‘Footloose’ is a big show with a lot going on, and the entire cast has really stepped outside of their comfort zone. I’m so proud of the way the cast and crew have all worked together.”
In addition to Williams and Downing, “Footloose” will be the final production for senior cast and crew members Nicholas Cox, Alana Dutcher, Mary Cahill and Elizabeth Flickinger. Williams and Downing both expressed the joy and sadness the entire group of seniors is feeling as they end their run on stage together.
“I have so many memories with my cast mates from the last six years; they’re my family, and I’m incredibly sad that it’s finally my time to retire,” said Williams.
Downing added “Northville Drama Club has been the best high school experience I have had, something I will value my whole life. Northville Drama Club will be forever in my heart.”
Tickets for “Footloose” will be available at the door. Ticket prices are $7 for students and $10 for adults.