The Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society’s performance of “Footloose”encourages its audience members to kick off their Sunday shoes and enjoy the music.
Tasked with reimagining the upbeat 1980s classic are director Annie Ludtke (MSB ’18) and producer Benjamin Sullivan (COL ’19), who are joined by technical director Bryce Kelety (SFS ’21) and stage manager Emma Hough (COL ’20).
Ludtke and Sullivan’s team has created an adaptation that stands out from the 1984 and 2011 film adaptations. With a show that many people know, Ludtke said she felt a duty to create something exceptional.
“We’ve taken a script that in different hands could be more two-dimensional,” Ludtke said in an interview with The Hoya. “We really worked to create this 2018, three-dimensional version of ‘Footloose’ that is readily accessible to everyone.”
“Footloose” follows misfit Ren McCormack, played by Colum Goebelbecker (COL ’21), as he moves from Chicago to a fictional town called Bomont where he discovers that the small town’s reverend, played by Max Hartley (MSB ’18), has banned dancing. With the help of new friends Willard Hewitt, played by Gabriel Berkowitz (MSB ’20); Rusty, played by Nicole Albanese (COL ’20); and the reverend’s rebellious daughter Ariel, played by Cristin Crowley (MSB ’20), Ren hopes to bring life back to Bomont with song and dance.
Stage adaptions of the show typically have a 40-member cast, but this production has only 21. The smaller-sized cast allows for character crossover as well as more challenging choreography, arranged by Lexi Schiazza (NHS ’20). The whole ensemble shines under the leadership of Goebelbecker and Crowley, despite the fact that “Footloose” marks their first Georgetown musical.
Goebelbecker and Crowley work together wonderfully as Ren and Ariel, and their voices come together particularly well during the ballad “Almost Paradise.” For Crowley, the entire process has been a delight.
“‘Footloose’ is about having fun, loving to dance, literally cutting loose,” Crowley said. “The whole point of doing a musical like this is to make not only the cast and the characters but the audience feel happy and energized and leave them feeling really good once it’s over.”
The show is driven by music — many of the songs are hits from the ’80s that are instantly recognizable. The production features a live onstage band under the direction of Paul Rochford (COL ’20), whose team transforms Poulton Hall into a booming yet intimate music venue.
“If you like just listening to music and listening to a rock band play, it is so powerful and you just want to sing along the whole time,” Sullivan said.
While the cast does an exceptional job with all of the musical numbers, some of the standouts are “The Girl Gets Around,” “Holding Out for a Hero” and “Mama Says.”
It would not be the ’80s without scrunchies and denim jackets. The costumes, brought to life by Jamie Farrell (COL ’19), seamlessly encapsulate the decade. Each character makes a couple costume changes, and every costume stays true to the fashion trends of the time. Whether it is pegged pants worn at school or shoulder pads at church, the attention to detail is meticulous. The costumes’ bright colors further add to the show’s fun and vibrant energy.
Mask and Bauble faced a challenge in differentiating “Footloose” from popular past productions, but its adaption does not disappoint. For those who do not know the show, it surprises and thrills.
“We have taken away a lot of the bells and whistles that a lot of productions of ‘Footloose’ normally come with,” Ludtke said. “We stripped it down to what it actually is in its essence, which is a group of people who aren’t allow to express themselves that suddenly find a way to because one person is brave enough to speak out.”
“Footloose” has performances April 11 to 14 at 8 p.m. and April 18 to April 21 at 8 p.m. in Poulton Hall, Stage III. Student admission is $12 and general admission is $15.