Cut loose with Footloose

One of the most explosive movie musicals bursts onto the live stage when The Talent Company presents the Broadway smash hit Footloose now through Dec. 9 in the NewTimes Theatre, Art & Home Center, NYS Fairgrounds, Syracuse.

Based on the motion picture hit about a young man who comes to town and changes the lives of everyone there, Footloose is propelled by the rockin' rhythm of its Oscar-nominated Top 40 score, with music by Tom Snow and lyrics by Dean Pitchford. The soundtrack album spent 10 weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts featuring such popular 1980s tunes as "Let's Hear It For The Boy," "Almost Paradise," "The Girl Gets Around," "Holding Out For A Hero," and the title song, "Footloose."

When the film was released in 1984, there were at least 65 communities in the United States that had some sort of law on the books outlawing dancing. One such town was Elmore City, Okla., the original inspiration for the unbelievable story of Footloose. Ever since the town's inception in 1861, dancing had been illegal. In 1980, when Elmore City teens protested the ordinance at City Hall, a firestorm of controversy followed; when it was all over, the town saw its first dance in more than 100 years. The event made national news. Writer Dean Pitchford headed for Oklahoma. He visited Elmore City and spent even more time down the road in neighboring Ardmore where the town's religious fervor impressed him. He befriended the local teens, who also impressed him, but in quite a different way.

"Their parents were devout churchgoers, but these kids were full of restless energy, just waiting to explode," he said.

Mark Bell Jr. stars as Ren McCormack, a boy without a father, who locks horns with a minister (David Baker). The Rev. Moore's rebellious daughter, Ariel, is played by Katherine Clare Bilofsky and his wife, Vi, by Tamaralee Shutt. When Ren and his mother, (Kate Huddleston) move from Chicago to the small farming town of Bomont, Ren is prepared for the inevitable adjustment period at his new high school. What he isn't prepared for are the rigorous local laws including a ban on dancing.

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