Vail Christian releases virtual ‘Footloose the Musical’ performance
Technology helps theater group bring the story from stage to screen
The show must go on.
That was the idea behind Vail Christian High School’s virtual performance of “Footloose the Musical,” which was released earlier this week.
“After COVID-19 closed down the schools and live productions, I pitched the idea that the production could still happen virtually to the director,” said Meredith Kirkman, who was choreographing the production. “We pulled together the rehearsal videos we had captured pre-pandemic, directed some scenes over Zoom with the cast and assigned out solos and ensemble numbers to be filmed on their own.”
Over two-dozen Vail Christian High School students were involved in the production. Rehearsals began in late January and continued until mid-March before the stay-at-home order began in Eagle County. Once gatherings of 10 people or less were granted in Eagle County, some duets and trios were safely captured.
“These kids put in a lot of hard work and passion. They still deserve the spotlight,” Kirkman said.
Kirkman put a lot of work and passion into this project, too, along with Melinda Carlson, Vail Christian High School’s theater and musical director.
“Melinda and I worked with each other on a weekly basis gathering videos, coaching the kids over Zoom and keeping the morale and spirits up,” Kirkman said. Carlson even dropped off cowboy hats filled with goodies and the playbill on the doorsteps of the entire cast on Wednesday morning, the day of the premiere.
A story that still resonates
“Footloose the Musical” is a familiar story to many who remember famous actor Kevin Bacon in his role as Ren McCormack, a teenage boy who moves from Chicago to the small town of Bomont. Upon arriving, Ren cannot understand why the reverend of Bomont has convinced the town to outlaw dancing. With the help of Ariel (the reverend’s daughter) and Willard (a country kid who becomes his best friend), Ren convinces the reverend to allow dancing and hold a school dance. In the process, he helps the town to heal from a tragedy that affected them all.
The original production was shortened due to it moving from stage to screen. Kirkman took the editing reigns in order to bring the virtual performance to life.
Kirkman, who is a 2013 Battle Mountain High School graduate, attended the Chicago College of Performing Arts, where she received a bachelor’s degree in musical theatre with a dance emphasis and launched a production company.
“It was challenging to create our own new process given the quarantine, but it was far from impossible. Everyone has the choice to be innovative or cancel in this current time,” Kirkman said. “I’m quite sure this project will spark the audience’s creativity, connection and positivity.
“Vail Christian High School has pulled together something very unique and special, so I encourage VCHS families, the Vail Valley community and theater lovers to check it out!”
You can view the virtual performance of “Footloose the Musical” by visiting vchs.org.