FOOTLOOSE: THE MUSICAL - Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center

Reviewed by Amalisha HuEck 

Footloose  is an iconic tale, where wishes come true after a long and dreadful period of living in the shadow of tragedy and grief over a loss of a loved one, where dancing and singing are strongly prohibited. The story is told with clever dialogue and great classical songs of the eighties. The grief of the tragic impact affected all people in the small town of Bomont where a teen Ren McCormack (Thomas Whitcomb) moves with his mother Ethel McCormack (Rene Cohen)   after his father left them. The loss of a young boy is paired with a father's loss of his son in a tragic accident many, many years ago. But the young lad cannot stand still. His feet are dancing and he takes a leap for freedom for all the people of Bomont, especially the young ones, and faces the town council, some of the strongest people in town, who are under the strong influence of Reverend Shaw Moore (Paul Panico).

The happy end is influenced by reciting a line from the Bible: "There is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance". And the darkness is lifted through a magical power of forgiveness, where healing takes over and freedom is achieved. In the final happy end, true love happens between the Reverend's daughter Ariel (Hannah Battersby), and our protagonist Ren McCormick.

Presented by Panic! and BarCinBoo Productions, Alison Mahay, and Paige Loter this award-nominated musical is so craftily directed by Barry Pearl (Director/Producer) and Michelle Elkin (Director/Choreographer) with the book by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie and with the memorable music of Kenny Loggins. Music is greatly arranged by Tom Snow. The Music Director/Conductor is Jeff Gibson and the Vocal Director is Jan Roper with the Stage Manager Rachael Goodman, Technical Director Nick Caisse, Lighting Design Ian Kelley, Props Design Alison Mahay, Sound Design Ethan Strubble, Set Design Paul Panico, Costume Design Cindy Peltola, Scenic Painter Jeff Raum, Set Construction Herbert Villalta, Graphich Design Paige Loter, and Public Relations Sandra Kuker-Franco.

The incredible cast of so many includes Thomas Whitcomb, Hannah Battersby, Tyler Marie Watkins, Lily Targett, Megan Vargas, Leonardo Cecchi, Andreas Pantazis, Cindy Pearl, Paul Panico, Vivien Latham, Ron Rezac, Carson Christ, Maxwell Oliver, Dylan Woodford, Hunter Uliasz, Casey Ryan, Noah Heie, Ronna Jones, Renee Cohen, Peter Miller, with the ensemble Morgan Lavin, Mary Kate Chapman, MJ Mikesell, Jaeda Stone, Ayumi Matsumoto, Megan Holeman, Sasha Serdyukov, Margaret Mortimore, and Kenneth Gary.    

On that small stage at Simi Valley Arts Center, where the stage crew, the unsung heroes of all plays, change the sets so magnificently fast to keep the story moving along, you will find the Band of Music Director, Jeffrey Gibson (Conductor and Keyboard) with Margaret Joyce (Woodwinds), Jeff Castanon (Guitar), Steve Clify (Bass Guitar), Satoshi Kirisawa (Drums) and Dann Gillen (Drums). Besides them, a cast of so many dazzling feet sway, spin, twirl, jump, leap, gyrate, turn, hitting that dance floor with such ease.

One wonders, 'How can they all fit there?' When the choreography is masterfully arranged, the magic is what follows. By the end, the theatre is filled with such exuberance, warmth, and love that one does not want it to end.

The show is SPECTACULAR.  One of the best musicals to come to Los Angeles (Simi Valley), in years.  Gifted cast, excellent direction by Barry Pearl (and) magnificent choreography by co-director Michelle Elkin.

Footloose runs through May14th with the performances on Fridays 8:00 pm, Saturdays 2:00 pm & 8:00 pm (5/6 & 5/13), and Sundays 2:00 pm. Tickets are $35 for Adults, $25 for Students & Seniors, and $25 for Children 12 & under. Tickets:  

For general information  go to:

Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center - (805) 583-7900                                                  3050 E. Los Angeles, Avenue, Simi Valley, CA. 93065

Posted By DH Magazine on April 29, 2023 05:30 pm | Permalink