Quote of the Day: Footloose is all about bridging community together through some difficult circumstances, and how appropriate that message is for all of us! Michael Brindisi, Artistic Director of the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and director of the fun, nostalgic, toe-tapping musical Footloose, playing through September 24, 2022.

Cast of Footloose, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Photo: Dan Norman, 2022

My sister Joy and I attended Footloose last Thursday night (St. Patrick’s Day) and had a blast. Our high school vibes were on full force, as we are both ’80’s girls. The 1984 movie, starring Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer, along with its soundtrack, will forever be linked to my high school experience. They released the soundtrack before the film came out, serving as advertisement for the film and helping people connect to the music. Of course, we all know the title song. The list also includes The Girl Gets Around, Holding Out for a Hero, Let’s Hear It for the Boy,  Almost Paradise and more

Alan Bach as Ren, Michael Gruber as Rev. Moore, and company of Footloose at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Photo: Dan Norman, 2022

The cast for Footloose is outstanding, a mix of familiar faces and performers debuting at the Chanhassen. For the performance we saw, they had several substitutions. Laura Rudolph played Ariel, usually performed by Maya Richardson. Ariel is the love interest to the new boy in town, Ren (Alan Bach) and the daughter of the strict preacher Rev. Shaw Moore (Michael Gruber). Laura played Ariel as the rebellious teen who also loves her father and grieves for her brother. Laura hits all the emotions and lovely notes. Alan Bach is outstanding as Ren. His athleticism wowed the audience. He sings wonderfully, acts exceptionally, and dances with the strength of a gymnast. The songs in The Junk Yard scene with his buddies were especially dynamic, performing to Dancing is Not a Crime and Mamma Says. Matthew Hall as Ren’s friend Willard is darling. He gets all the funny lines, hams it up for the audience, flirts with the girls, and eventually learns to dance. 

Lynnea Doublette as Vi, Alan Bach as Ren, and Ann Michels as Ethel McCormack in Footloose at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Photo: Dan Norman, 2022

Lynnea Doublette makes her Chanhassen debut as Ariel’s mom, Vi Moore, and Ann Michels (a Chanhassen regular) plays Ren’s mom, Ethel McCormack. They have a lovely duet in Act I, Learning to be Silent. Ann shines in every role show plays. We loved her as Ren’s mom, and chuckled at her ’80s hair! The costumes (Rich Hamson) were totally awesome, bringing all the nostalgia back for me. In fact, I feel that my high school closet was well represented. I had that ruffle shirt in both red and black! Oh, and the floral patterns and shoulder pads! I chuckled most at the scene in the gym when the students were all wearing short, red shorts, white t-shirts with red sleeves, and the standard knee-high sweat shocks with the three red stripes! 

Alan Bach as Ren and Matthew Hall as Willard in Footloose at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Photo: Dan Norman, 2022

If you want a fun night out with friends and/or family, go to Footloose at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. They know how to do it right, from a varied dining selection on their menu, to a wide choice of wines and a full bar, and a decadent list of desserts. Everything was wonderful. I think it would be a blast to attend this show with high school friends (for audience members both young and old) as it brings back so many memories and highlights the good times. Yes, it also centers around a tragedy and grief. It’s about healing and coming together as a community and finding the joy again after so much loss and pain. It really is a feel-good show, with tremendous music, performed by an outstanding cast. The music, conducted by Andy Kust, is performed live behind the stage, adding so much energy to the experience. 

For tickets and showtimes, visit The Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Don’t drag your feet, this one is already selling out! 

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: What are some favorite high school memories?