Newman University presents Broadway hit ‘Footloose’

Nov 16, 2017
footloose poster

Lights, camera and everybody cut footloose.

Newman University music and theater department presents Broadway hit “Footloose” at 8 p.m. Nov. 16-18 and 2 p.m. Nov. 19.

Newman’s Director of Music Deanne Zogleman will direct the show; Paul Graves is the music director.

“Footloose” is the story of Ren McCormack (Corby Redington), a teenage boy from Chicago. He and his mother move to the small town of Bomont after his father abandons them. Upon arriving, Ren finds himself at odds with most of the town, including the Rev. Shaw Moore (Dakota Heard). The reverend has convinced the town to outlaw dancing, which Ren finds unbelievable. With the help of the reverend’s daughter, Ariel (Ashleigh Taylor) and country hick Willard (Blake Lee), Ren convinces the reverend to let the teenagers dance, and in the process helps the town to heal from a tragedy that affected them all.

“Paul and I chose the show because it appeals to several generations and it is a high energy show that will be loads of fun for the audience,” Zogleman said.

Students rehearse for “Footloose.”

The cast started character development rehearsals and music in mid-September and have been rehearsing four to five days a week since the end of September.

Newman student Ashleigh Taylor plays the role of rebellious Ariel Moore. “Rehearsals are usually three or more hours, especially now that we are getting down to the wire,” said Taylor.

“There is a lot of singing, a lot of dancing and a lot of scene work,” Taylor continued. “They are long, but I never notice the time passing because of how much fun I am having. We are in great shape and the entire cast is anxious to reveal how amazing this show really is.”

Along with the many Newman students who are participating in the show, Bishop Carroll student Raymond Avelar will join the cast.

Avelar will play Chuck Cranston, a high school dropout, drug dealer and rebel. To top it all off, he is dating the preacher’s daughter, Ariel Moore.

“Acting as Chuck is very different from what I am used to because I have never acted a role where I am the bad guy. My favorite part about it is playing around with the character and trying new things on stage to make it mine and unique,” Avelar said.

Avelar became a part of the “Footloose” cast when at the beginning of his high school’s Madrigals class, he was pulled aside by music instructor Melissa Seiler.

“She said that Deanne Zogleman was looking for a high tenor to play a part in “Footloose” and to contact her if I was interested,” explained Avalar. “So I called Deanne that day after school and we set up a quick audition for the following day. I was actually really excited driving up to Newman University for this audition and I wasn’t as nervous as I usually get for auditions so that was great. I got there and the audition went well and Deanne gave me the part. She gave me the script, soundtrack CD and a schedule for rehearsals and I started the following week.”

Not only has Avelar become a part of the cast, but he plans on becoming a part of the Newman University community.

Avelar said, “I’m definitely going to Newman for college. It has been in my plans for a while now and being in this show definitely solidified those plans even more. Everyone is really kind and supportive and it is a totally new environment than what I am used to and it’s great. I love it.”

footloose rehearsal
Rehearsals have been taking place since mid-September.

The cast and crew as a whole have been working extremely hard to make this show one for all to remember.

Zogleman said, “Since the first day of auditions, this show has been an absolute joy — the actors are some of the hardest working students I have worked with and it shows as they are ready to wow the audience with this beloved show. This show is not just acting and singing, there is a ton of dancing and it’s just plain fun for every generation.”

Taylor said that she is thrilled to be working with people who are just as passionate about music, theater and dancing as she is.

“I am so grateful for the role that I have been given,” said Taylor. “It takes a lot of dedication and love and soul to put on a show as highly energetic as this one. People need to come see this show, it’s going to be a blast.”

The show takes place in the performance hall in De Mattias Fine Arts Center. Tickets are $12 general public, $10 for seniors and military, $5 for students and NU faculty and staff. Newman University students get in for free with a student ID.