Cutting Loose at the Owen Theatre’s Production of Footloose

Footloose Review

Cutting+Loose+at+the+Owen+Theatre%27s+Production+of+Footloose

Jillian Parks

When I was 12, I played Ariel in a one-week summer overnight Footloose camp. I still have videos of the performance, but other than that and the one time I saw the Kevin Bacon version, my knowledge of Footloose is unimpressive to say the least. 

College Park senior Emily Freeman was in the Owen Theatre’s production of Footloose, and I can confidently say she and the rest of her cast mates blew my one-week Footloose out of the water. The choreographer, Jodie Schrier, did a phenomenal job of creating high-energy, impressive dance numbers. The sets and costumes were immersive. All of the actors seemed committed to creating an enjoyable show, even if they had to wear some of the most hilarious wigs I’ve ever seen. 

Footloose follows Ren McCormick, played by Carson Rapsilver, as he moves to a small town, Bomont, that has cracked down on drinking, drugs, and even dancing after a tragic car accident. McCormick tries to encourage the town to let loose while pining after the pastor’s rebellious daughter, Ariel Shaw. 

Stand-outs included Kyle Clevenger as Willard, Meredith Fisk as Rusty (and as the music director), and Madison Mapes as Ariel. Clevenger captured the charming awkwardness of Willard, delivering all of his lines with the perfect timing and inflection. Fisk was the best vocal part of the show, and the healthy precision with which she sang made it no surprise that she doubled as the vocal director. Mapes also had a stand-out voice, but what really made her stand out was her acting, naturally switching between hardened and vulnerable.

The Owen Theatre in Conroe primarily works with adults, but for a show meant to follow high schoolers, that can be sort of confusing. I often found myself forgetting these were supposed to be teens until they were in a gym scene or surrounded by lockers. This is true of most movies and TV shows that follow high schoolers, and I have never been a fan. 

The strongest part of the show, in addition to their cast stacked with talented adults, was the choreography. Both the Act One and Two openers immediately made me excited to be in 1980s America. Full group numbers were coordinated and fun, and numbers like Holding Out For A Hero that showcased a specific few were equally exciting and spectacular. 

Overall, it was definitely worth the $15 ticket and the roughly 2.5 hours of wearing a mask. With live theatre opening back up, I would encourage everyone to splurge a little and spend a night at the theatre. Even bad shows can be well worth the money, and the lessons and advice that come from a few hours of theatre, in this case cutting loose, can be applicable and helpful to daily life.