‘Footloose’: Corinth Theatre-Arts kicks off season with musical

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

You gotta fight for your right to party – or, in Ren’s case, dance.
“Footloose” comes to life this weekend at the Crossroads Playhouse, as Corinth Theatre-Arts presents the stage version of the popular 1984 movie.
“The audience will know a little bit about the story and will recognize the music. (The playwright) took the music of the movie and made it into a play,” said “Footloose” director Cristina Skinner.
The storyline is similar to the movie: Ren, a teen from Chicago, moves to a small town where dancing and rock music has been banned by the Rev. Shaw Moore. Ren falls for the preacher’s daughter, Ariel, and does everything he can to bring dancing to the town.
“It’s very high energy. We have a youth cast, and they’re very exuberant,” she said. “All the roles are played by 20-somethings and younger.”
One of those 20-somethings is Thomas Elam, who stars as Ren. He’s stepping into big dancing shoes, as Kevin Bacon famously played Ren in the movie version. Elam’s not worried about it, though.
“I hadn’t seen the movie until I got the part. I watched the original, but as far as character building, I went with how I’d react in certain situations,” he said.
Elam, a musical theater major, said Ren is his favorite role, “and I’ve been in a lot of musicals,” he said. “I get to be exuberant and excited all the time, and I get to be blunt.”
It’s the dramatic scenes that Marlee Sue Bradley loves. The 16-year-old Corinth native plays Ariel.
“I get to be dramatic, which is nice because I haven’t done much dancing,” she said. “It’s been such a fun experience.”
Someone who’s not dancing in “Footloose” is Jon Huwe, who plays Ariel’s father, the Rev. Shaw Moore, who has banned dancing and rock music. He may be the bad guy of the piece, but he’s not evil, Huwe said.
“Every villain has their reasons,” he said. “When you’re playing the villain, you have to (justify) what they’re doing, so you can play them.”
Huwe has something in common with the pastor, so that makes him a little difference from his footloose and fancy free co-stars.
“I don’t dance,” he said, laughing.
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com