Victoria High students are getting set to shake things up with moves and songs from the ’80s in the school’s production of Footloose next week.
For the past five months, students have been polishing their dancing shoes and warming up their vocals chords in anticipation of the school’s production of the 1984 classic.
Based on the original story, which starred Kevin Bacon, Footloose is about city teenager Ren McCormack who moves to a small town where rock music and dancing have been banned, and he uses his rebellious spirit to shake up the town.
It’s a show director Alan Penty originally saw at a theatre in Chemainus and decided it was the perfect way to close out his career after 15 years of teaching drama at Vic High.
“I was looking for a show I could act with the students,” said Penty, adding this will be his first time acting alongside his students. “I thought ‘oh wait, I could play that guy, I can play the cranky old minister’.”
Shortly after, the roughly 50 person cast and crew got together to put together a high-energy, feel-good, family-friendly show — one very different compared to the edgier shows such as Cabaret, which students performed in the past.
The show is also one of the most vocally-challenging plays the school has put on, said Penty, with students often required to sing in four and six-part harmony.
“Vocals have been more demanding, adding all those harmonies in,” said Grade 11 student and actor Kate Illingworth, who plays Rusty and provides the show’s comic relief. “We worked really hard on this show.”
Aside from vocals, there was a brief moment when the cast and crew got quite a scare and were unsure if the show would go on after Penty’s appendix ruptured, putting him out of commission for four weeks. But during that time co-director Kerry Krich, stepped up and kept rehearsals running smoothly.
Now, after months of hard work, the young actors are eager to hit the stage.
“I’m ready. We’re super excited. Everyone is working really hard,” said Grade 12 student and actor Ashley Richter, who plays Ariel Moore, the preacher’s daughter who also rebels against the ban of dancing.
“I felt really close to her (Ariel). When you’re in musical theatre often you play outside of the box characters, but in a way, it’s very real. I have so many similarities with her, she’s graduating and I’m graduating. We’re both in very similar places in our lives.”
Footloose hits the stage Jan. 19 to 21 at 7 p.m., and a matinee on Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. at the Vic High auditorium (1260 Grant St.) Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, or $40 for a family package including two adults and two students. Tickets are available at the door or at the Vic High office at 250-388-5456.