Whitehalls Footloose has more than fancy footwork

 Messenger photos by Dianne Garrett

Cast members dancing in the scene "Holding out for a hero" or the musical "Footloose" are from left to right:  Monica Riley, Amber Eck, Anastasia Leonard, Ashley Jefferson, Amanda Heintzelman, Francisca Medrano, Deja Franklin, Rebecca Bryant, Amy Nash Daelann Farnlacher and Kimberly Murry.  The Whitehall Yearling High School musical will be performed at the high school April 11, 12 and 13.

The entire cast of the musical, "Footloose" will delight audiences with drama and lively dancing April 11, 12 and 13 at Whitehall Yearling High School.  Cast members are, from left, first row, Amy Nash and Daelann Farnlacher; second row, Jonathan Flores, Monica Riley, Anastasia Leonard and Kimberly Murry; third row, Jacob Hatfield, Amanda Heintzelman, William Erby and Francisca Medrano; fourth row, Russell McPherson, Deja Franklin, Carey Adkins and Ashley Jefferson; fifth row,  Rebecca Bryant and Amber Eck.

"Everybody’s cuttin’ footloose" are words from the title song of the soundtrack of the 1984 musical, "Footloose," which will be performed by the Whitehall Yearling High School Theatre Department April 10-13.  

Director Dan Nash shared that the musical endeavor has been a challenge, but a rewarding one.  This is the first school year for the 2002 WYHS graduate to direct the theatre, and the second production for the 2007-2008 school term.

"Footloose" celebrates the wisdom of listening to young people, guiding them with a warm heart and an open mind.  

When Ren McCormick and his mother move from Chicago to a small farming town, Ren is prepared for the inevitable adjustment period at his new high school.  

What he isn’t prepared for are the rigorous local edicts, including a ban on dancing instituted by the local preacher, determined to exercise the control over the town’s youth that he cannot command in his own home.  

His rebellious daughter sets her sights on Ren, while her roughneck boyfriend sets out to sabotage his reputation, with many of the locals eager to believe the worst about the new kid.  

The heartfelt story that emerges is of a father longing for the son he lost and of a young man aching for the father who walked out on him.

Along with the high school students, the production also has nine Rosemore Middle School students and ten adult community members in the cast.  

The popular musical was one of the most explosive movies of the ’80s, later bursting onto the live stage with exhilarating results.  In 1985 it received two Oscar nominations, as well as Golden Globe and Grammy nominations.  

A very young Sarah Jessica Parker, who originally hails from Nelsonville, Ohio, also received a nomination for the Young Artist Award.  Other now-popular actors included Kevin Bacon, John Lithgow, Lori Singer and Dianne Weist.

The soundtrack album reached number one on the Billboard charts, and has sold over 15 million copies.  The original screenplay was penned by Dean Pritchford, with the stage adaptation by Pritchford and Walter Bobbie. Music was scored by Tom Snow, with lyrics by Pritchford.  Other musical artists included Eric Carmen, Sammy Hagar, Kenny Loggins and Jim Steinman.

 There will be a 1 p.m. show on April 9 for senior citizens, which is free.  The evening performances will be April 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. and a 2:00 p.m. matinee on April 13.  Tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for students and children.  Doors open 45 minutes prior to show time.


A portion of the proceeds from the April 11 performance will benefit the James "Herk" Soteriades Scholarship.  The scholarship is awarded annually to a graduating senior who has chosen to pursue theatre at an accredited university.  

A second scholarship is awarded to a student who continues an education in the safety forces, police or fire.  

Soteriades was a well-loved retired fire captain, and was serving on City Council at the time of his death in 2000.

Anyone who would also like to make donations to the theatre department, can drop off or send a check made payable to WYHS Theatre Department, 675 S. Yearling Road, Whitehall, Ohio 43213.  

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