Abrams theater sets its dancing shoes to ‘Footloose’

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Musical dances into town next week
By: 

Anna Olson, Times Herald Correspondent


The cast of “Footloose: The Musical” rehearses a scene at the Byng Community Theater in Abrams. From left, Charis Wirtley, Jack Anderson, Owen Goffard, Katie Koehn, Abby Frank, Akeem Edmonds, Tyler Otto, and Bella Frank. Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. will present the musical based on the 1984 hit movie on the weekends of June 21-23 and June 28-30. (Contributed photo)

The musical version of a popular 1980s film is the next production for the Abrams community theater.

Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. presents “Footloose: The Musical” for a two-weekend run on June 21-23 and June 28-30. The story follows city teen Ren McCormack and his move to the small town of Bomont, Utah, where dancing and rock music are not only discouraged, but banned. Follow Ren, his newfound friends, and the community as they grapple with love, loss, rebellion, and the right to dance.

The musical is based on the hit 1984 film and features hits such as “Let’s Hear It for the Boys” and “Holding Out for a Hero.”

“When Footloose was being adopted as a stage musical, the writers transferred many of the songs directly from the movie soundtrack,” said director Michael Laskowski. “It was actually one of the very first musicals to be based on a non-musical movie, which I think makes this production quite special and unique.”

“Footloose” is Laskowski’s first production with ASPI and his musical directorial debut. Though new to the ASPI family, Laskowski is no stranger to local, having been involved in several area theater companies including Evergreen Theatre, Green Bay Community Theatre, Riverside Players, and Wolf River Theatre.

“One of the many reasons why I adore my cast is that there is such a wide range of talents and experiences among them,” Laskowski said.

The show spotlights Akeem Edmonds as newcomer Ren McCormack and Abby Frank as a reverend’s rebel daughter Ariel Moore.

“One of the special things we have with this cast is that it truly is a family affair,” Laskowski said.

The “Footloose” cast features several family member ties, including sisters Abby and Bella Frank, (portraying Ariel and Rusty), along with two father/daughter duos, Jerry Wirtley and Charis Wirtley (portraying the Rev. Shaw Moore and Wendy Jo) and Mark Koehn and Katie Koehn (portraying Coach Dunbar and Urleen).

“When you put together a cast for any type of show, that cast becomes like a family, and these coincidences just put a delightful ironic touch to that thought,” Laskowski said.

Showtimes for ASPI’s production of “Footloose: The Musical” are 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. All shows will be performed at the Byng Community Theater, 5852 Maple St., Abrams.

ASPI will celebrate opening night on Friday, June 21, with a gala after the show. The audience is invited to enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drinks with the cast and crew.

To purchase tickets, check out the ASPI website at abramsspotlightproductions.com or by calling the box office at 920-826-5852.

“Footloose” is presented through special arrangement with R&H Theatricals.