BWW Reviews: FOOTLOOSE Explodes with Talent and Flair at Hale Centre Theatre!
Cambrian James has directed and choreographed an uplifting and super-charged production of Footloose at the Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert AZ. It's a seamless show with a smartly assembled cast of superbly talented actors and inspired stagecraft.
The magic of this show is that the masterful coordination of all the production elements does not detract one iota from the performances. The ensemble shines and rocks the stage!
Let me count the ways: Mickey Bryce's first-rate musical direction. The imaginative and resourceful set designs by Adam DeVaney and Brian Daily and the latter's direction of flawless set changes. Monica Christiansen's collection of props. Jeff Davis's brilliant lighting.
The struggle of Ren McCormack (Connor Wince) to find himself after he and his mother Ethel (Jennifer Whiting) relocate from Chicago to rural Bomont to start a new life, and, in due course, to challenge the small town's restrictions on dancing resonates today, even thirty years after its film debut with Kevin Bacon in the lead role.
At its heart, this is a story about love, overcoming fear, opening closed minds, freedom, and, of course, dance! This cast breathes life and substance into these competing forces.
Mr. Wince, as the conflicted teen, has the moves; he's remarkably agile and acrobatic, but his voice, pitchy at times, needs to match the quality of his leaps.
Danny Karapetian, as Ren's friend Willard, short on words but seeking his own voice, is the comic energy of the show, with a solid voice to boot.
Brandon Zale's portrayal of Reverend Shaw Moore is breathtaking. He captures with authenticity ~ and a marvelous tenor voice ~ the minister's internal struggle with family, pain, and principles until he sees the light. His "I Confess" brings tears to the eyes.
The trio of Kate Cook, Sarah Bartley, and Audrey Sullivan play the friends of Ariel, Reverend Moore's daughter and Ren's love interest ~ and do they harmonize!
But it is Kate Cook whose talent as an actress, dancer, and singer radiates throughout this show.
Footloose's run continues through August 23rd.