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BWW Review: FOOTLOOSE at Summer Arts Intensive

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BWW Review: FOOTLOOSE at Summer Arts Intensive

Summer Arts Intensive brings us Footloose!

Everybody cut footloose because Theatre is back in the F-M area after a very long break. When most of the summer programs (and spring for that matter) were forced to close, luckily a couple of local productions decided to push forward, and one of these is Summer Arts Intensive and their production of Footloose.

Pretty much everyone knows the story of Footloose thanks to the classic Kevin Bacon movie from 1984. Not as many people know about the stage musical that started in 1998, but it is still a very popular show.

In case you are worried about social distancing at an enclosed venue (Sheyenne HS Theatre) they did take precautions. They spaced out people in their seats from different parties, masks are required once inside the venue, the intermission was outside and after the show, guests are asked to remain in your seat until an usher dismisses you.

Now with all of that out of the way, let us get to the fun stuff!

I admit I wasn't sure what to expect when I heard some shows were going on, I thought maybe too many kids would stay home and we would see a bare bone cast. That was not the case with a cast of over 45 kids and no shortage on talent.

Right off the bat, we have Logan Lang as Ren. Logan is no stranger to the local theatre scene and continues to turn in one great performance after another. He was spectacular as Ren. Logan has the look, the mannerisms, the dance moves and was definitely channeling his inner Kevin Bacon. From his first solo in Act I with "I Can't Stand Still" to the big closing number before the intermission of "I'm Free" he absolutely shines. Then in Act II, we hear Logan on a short song called "Dancing is Not a Crime" complete with a beatboxer and of course, the absolute standout number of Act II is Almost Paradise. I also loved his scene with Ethan Saari as Shaw Moore.

Next, we have someone who is very quickly becoming one of my favorite local young actors. Ethan Saari as Reverend Shaw Moore is perfect. Ethan has such range as a performer and is just a joy to watch on stage. I have been a fan since I first saw him in Secret Garden at West Fargo a few years ago. In this show, we get to see his acting, singing and even some sweet dance moves. He is great on "Heaven Help Me" and his scene with Ren at the house after the council meeting is one of the best scenes in the show.

Another well-known local performer is Josie Gompf as Ariel. This was another great casting choice by director Bryce Henrickson. Josie treats us to some very powerful vocals and she has some great standout moments in "Holding Out For A Hero", the earlier mentioned "Almost Paradise" with Logan and probably one of my favorite numbers of the entire show "Learning To Be Silent" also featuring Gabrielle Mowery as Vi and Jackie James as Ethel. Josie also gets to show off her dance moves throughout the show.

Another favorite character and great casting choice is Aidan Bertsch as Willard. Willard was one of my favorite characters from the original movie and easily a favorite in this production. Aidan has great comedic timing and his interactions with Ren and especially his scenes with Rusty are great. His solo performance on "Mama Says" is one of the funniest scenes in the show.

I also want to give one more individual mention to Maia Ruhland as Rusty and her performance on "Let's Hear It For The Boy".

Also a mention to the pit orchestra conducted by Jason Carlson.

There are so many great supporting and ensemble members of the cast and I wish I could mention all of them. As usual, this whole cast put on a wonderful show that they should all be very proud of. There is still a few chances to see this, but it is selling out fast.

*** Photo Credit to Renegade Photography ***


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From This Author Brian Michaels