Somebody’s Eyes Are Watching
Everybody Cut! Everybody Cut! One of the theatre communities favorite and most loved musicals came to life this past weekend at Wagner College in Staten Island, New York. Completely Student Productions kicked off their 2012-2013 season with the crowd pleasing Footloose. From the songs you sing along with to the dance moves you wanna join in on, Footloose kicks off the Completely Student Productions Season with a fun, vibrant and powerful spirit most other student productions lack.
Footloose is the story of Ren McCormack who loves being in the middle of everything but is about to find himself in the middle of nothing. Due to financial strains of his father abandoning their family, Ren and his mother move to the small town of Bomont, quite literally in the middle of no where. And while the laws of this small country town may appear odd to Ren, the weirdest of all is a law that exists prohibiting dancing. Ren discovers the meaning behind the strange law and works to prove to the town that while you get knocked down in life, you do eventually need to stand back up.
This rendition of Footloose appears stronger than most. That is most likely due to the fact that there is much less dialogue (Director’s choice) and much more of just song and dance in the show. Director and choreographer Brendan Stackhouse makes his best choice in eliminating much of the god awful book that exists for the production and relying heavily on the productions musical numbers. This is an excellent choice not only in the sense that the heart of the show is in its musical numbers, but the fact that the story is still perfectly told through less. Stackhouse works the piece and the space using the oddly shaped Spiro 2 using aisle choreography and consistent movement. Footloose takes off and never stops to look back.
Leading the gang is Max King, who stars as the out-of-town and out-of-place Ren McCormack. King dances about the stage consistently proving the spirit of Ren and Footloose itself with fun numbers such as “I Can’t Stand Still”. He also has the chance to work the crowd on the well-known opening and closing number, “Footloose”, bringing everyone in on the fun. Starring opposite King is Daniela Sottile, who plays Reverend Shaw’s daughter Ariel. Sottile shines as the rebellious teen who not only likes disobeying society but her father as she consistently proves herself to be a problem (But in all the right ways). Her performance only gets better when she has the chance to shine vocally as well on songs such as “Holding Out for a Hero” or “Almost Paradise”. “Almost Paradise”, sung with King is executed so simply that it actually proved one of my favorite moments of the show overall.
Freshmen Shane Ertter stars as Reverend Shaw Moore in the production. Despite the fact that he is one of the youngest cast members involved with the production, he also proves to be one of our favorites. He makes excellent choices as the father and Reverend trying not only to control his daughter but his town as well. His song “I Confess” in the second act is moving and hands down one of my favorite moments of the entire production. Another person worth noting is Phil DellaNoce who stars as the lovable and comedic Willard. DellaNoce delivers the laughs of the show consistently from his small encounters is scenes to his daring dance movings in the show’s production numbers. His rendition of “Mama Says” has the audience gasping for breath while surrounded by a great men ensemble backing him up.
Another great aspects of Footloose is the fierce backup provided from the small ensemble scenes to the large company numbers. You get to experience the joys of people such as Paige McNamara (Rusty), Lauren Wagner (Wendy Jo) and Patyon Sherry (Urleen). These three prove fantastic throughout the show with great dancing, backup and songs of their own. “Somebody’s Eyes”, which all three of them perform, is fantastic and vocally entertaining.
The only downfall of this production is the technical aspects of it. With a mix of a performance location and overall lack of resources from Completely Student Productions, the technical aspects for this show are minimal. And while it does work for the most part with the show mostly consisting of song and dance, you do find yourselves at times pleading for more. A colorful backdrop covers the back wall and helps the show pop with more vibrant colors. But like we said, it only works. Due to the fact that Completely Student Productions is only a student group at Wagner College, they don’t receive enough financial funds to produce the technical elements of shows you want to see at a certain level.
If you missed Completely Student Production’s Footloose, don’t worry! The student run group will producing various other works throughout the semester that we will be sure to keep you up to date on! Only Luner on Theatre brings you student theatre news coverage you want and more! for more information, check out Completely Student Production’s Official Website. Be sure to check Luner on Theatre on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter as well! We are constantly updating these pages with information! And of course, check out the rest of Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news you don’t only need but want to know!