Battle Mountain High School presents ‘Footloose the Musical’
About a week ago, the cast and crew of Battle Mountain’s “Footloose” musical had one of those nights. It was cold, everyone was tired and they wondered why, oh why they hadn’t done a play where the most complicated move was standing up a stepladder. The next night they nailed it.
“There needs to be a bad rehearsal for there to be a good show,” said Collin Idzikowski.
This one’s gonna be great. Like most things that are worth it, it wasn’t easy.
Senior Meredith Steinke choreographed the show. That’s a complicated way of saying she spent the last three months ordering her friends around, which made her a little apprehensive.
“I’m their friend and peer, but during rehearsals I have to be a leader and have respect,” she said.
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She need not have worried.
“Everyone listened well,” said Idzikowski. “She choreographed the show last year, so everyone knew what she could do and how talented she is.”
Steinke choreographed last year’s Battle Mountain production, “Little Shop of Horrors,” her first musical. She thought that production would be better served if she didn’t perform.
This year was a different story. At the beginning she decided to perform; at the last minute she was asked to choreograph.
“It’s a dance show and she’s a senior. I wanted to give her the opportunity to showcase that talent,” said Sheresa Wilbanks, Footloose director.
Usually she can choreograph a show in a day.
She either sits down and visualizes it, or goes to the Vail Valley Dance Academy studio and works it out. That’s in the morning. That night she starts teaching the crew.
“Footloose” took longer. The musical has 20 numbers and 15 have dancing in them.
“A lot of people were scared at first, but they have worked hard and now they have it,” Steinke said.
They started the second week in January and learned the music and blocking a week later – working out where and how actors move. Then they added singing and dancing.
“It wasn’t a long time to put something like this together. We didn’t have months and months to work on it for hours every day,” Steinke said.
Most of these performers are on stage most of the year. Steinke and Idzikowski are with the Vail Performing Arts Academy, the Vail Valley Dance Academy and have been at this for 10 years.
For the uninitiated, “Footloose” is a 1998 musical based on the 1984 film of the same name.
Ren McCormack (Idzikowski) is a Chicago teenage who dances away his stress. After his father abandoned them he and his mother Ethel are moving to Bomont, a small town in the middle of nowhere, where his aunt and uncle have offered them a place to stay.
Once there, Ren and Ethel attend church and get their first glimpse of Reverend Shaw Moore, a conservative minister and a big authority figure in the town. After a long sermon lambasting the evils of “rock and roll” music and its “endless chant of pornography,” the Reverend’s daughter Ariel (Steinke) runs off to a gas station to meet her boyfriend Chuck Cranston. He’s “trailer trash”; he and Ariel are only together for the sex (“The Girl Gets Around”). While they embrace, the Reverend shows up and catches Chuck with his hands around his daughter.
The next day, Ren shows up for school and Willard Hewitt decides to beat him up. Hewitt is a slow-witted cowboy with a bad attitude and a strong loyalty to his mother. Hewitt doesn’t go through with it, and they become friends.
Ren tells Willard about the dancing he used to do in Chicago (“I Can’t Stand Still”). Willard tries to stop him from dancing in the middle of the school, but Ren ignores him and puts on a show in front of the school principal, who angrily explains that dancing is illegal in the town of Bomont.
But you gotta dance, and they do brilliantly, as you’ll see when they hit the stage.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.