'Footloose' to thrill audience of all ages

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Jul. 29, 2011
Tré Frazer (center) leads the cast in Creative Experiences' production of 'Footloose,' which opens Aug. 4. Photos by Steve Smith.
Tré Frazer (center) leads the cast in Creative Experiences' production of 'Footloose,' which opens Aug. 4. Photos by Steve Smith.

The older set in the audience at "Footloose" will appreciate the great music – several of the songs were hits from the '80s film soundtrack– and the story of Ren, a Chicago teen forcibly transplanted to a very Christian Beaumont, Texas, who upends the town by introducing (gasp) dancing to the burg's youth.

Younger audience members will likely enjoy the colorful costumes, dancing, humor and the overall fun of the show, while easily getting the message about a community coming together.

It's exactly that sense of community that makes the Glastonbury Youth and Family Services' Creative Experiences shows (Footloose is their 37th summer production) so successful. Comprising the cast, crew and support personnel, are the members of more than 200 local families.

For the first time in those nearly four decades, the chief staffers are all “graduates” of the productions.

Meg Dagon takes the reins as the pit director, after being one of the musicians since 2008's "Annie Get Your Gun."

“This time I'm fully in charge of the pit,” said the Ithaca College music education major. “It's a good experience.”

Tré Frazier plays Ren, and said he's grown into the character, and the process has been a challenge.

“It's really been a long and tedious process, but it's really coming together,” Frazier said. “As soon as we started dress rehearsals, I really started feeling like the character. It gave me more motivation to get in the 'Ren mindset.'”

Recent Glastonbury High School graduate Robert Kelly plays Reverend Shaw Moore, who essentially runs Beaumont, and has outlawed dancing. “He's the antagonist of the show,” Kelly said. “He's stuck on this 'no fun' craze, but he has a revelation at the end.”

Kelly said he's played bad characters before, but the reverend is more rooted in reality. In an early rehearsal, director Chris Gullotta had several of the actors walk like their characters, which was something that brought Kelly into his role more.

“We had 30 minutes where I had to walk like a reverend would,” Kelly said. “That was really interesting – just putting on a whole new persona – and I kind of took Shaw into my normal life.”

GHS junior Amanda Lunsford steps into her first lead role of Ariel, the reverend's daughter, who also has her own wild side. “She likes trouble,” Lunsford said. “She likes to bother her father because she's upset about the law against dancing. Once she opens up to Ren about her brother whom she lost in an accident, she becomes softer. She's a really fun character to play because she has the two sides. It's a little difficult, but I'm getting use to playing two personalities in the same show.”

“Audiences are going to like that it's really family-friendly, and the spectacular dance moments,” Frazier said. “Theres a lot of energy and a lot of fun – lots of laughs, and touching moments, too.”

“Footloose is just a real energetic experience,” Kelly said. “It makes you think about what you're holding onto in your life. It's pleasantly different. I think it connects more with the audience like the movie did.”

"Footloose" will be presented Aug. 4, 5, and 6 at the GHS auditorium at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at Glastonbury Youth and Family Services at 321 Hubbard St. For more information, call 860-652-7664.

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