Everyone is invited to cut loose this weekend when Jim Thorpe Area High School presents Footloose at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 4-5.
With its catchy music and talented cast, Footloose is sure to have the audience tapping its feet and humming its songs long after the curtain closes.
Director Natalie Kmetz has been the driving force behind Jim Thorpe's yearly production for three decades, and even though she retired last year, she continues to dedicate herself to the annual musical.
Kmetz says she previews numerous shows each year before she decides which one to stage. Having worked over the years with many of the students featured in this production helped make her decision easier. She says she selected this play because of its catchy tunes as well as the strength of the cast.
"The kids love the old music," says Kmetz, "and that's why I wanted to do this. There is also a lot of wonderful talent in this show and I'd like them to show off their talent to the town."
She's sure the public is going to love the music just as much as the cast does.
"They will be singing the songs constantly after hearing them for the first time," Kmetz promises.
In a synopsis of Footloose provided by Kmetz, Ren McCormick (played by Michael Trainer) moves to Beaumont, Texas with his mother, Ethel, (played by Maria Donati) and finds himself at odds with the repressive atmosphere in Beaumont, where the spiritual life of the community is overseen by the powerful local minister Rev. Shaw Moore (played by Christian Pringle).
Ren is stunned to learn that dancing is not allowed anywhere within the town limits. He tries to convince the town council and Rev. Moore that dancing is motivational, but it doesn't work until he shares his own fears and motivation with Moore, who in turn, decides that the senior class can have a dance. So for the first time in years, the young people of Beaumont are able to dance freely and as everyone joins in, the evening becomes not only a celebration but finally an ecstatic expression of healing.
They dared to dance and "everybody cut footloose."
Additional cast members include Hailey Hoherchak as Ariel Moore, Josiah Behrens as Willard Hewitt, Samantha Sparacio as Rusty, Caitlin Henninger as Urleen, Bridget McFadden as Wendy Jo, Alexis Young as Vi Moore, Siobhan Kleintop as LuLu Warnicker, Martin Mazan as Wes Warnicker, Richie Buell as Coach Dunbar, Gina Rodriguez as Eleanor Dunbar, Chris Boyd as Chuck Cranston, Abraham Buell as Lyle, Zach Dykas as Travis, Rebecca Osbourne as Betty Blast, Matt Rich as Jeter, Marc Caruso as Bickle, Zeb Kleintop as Garvin/Cop, Marc Niccolls as Cowboy Bob and Jordan Behrens as the Principal.
Portraying townspeople and high students are: Rudeene Jackson, Thirzita Buell, Maria Bonhomme, Robbyn Loyd, Lyana Shipman, Rya Hartman, Lauren Donati, Alexis Pfeifer, Jessica Saltz, Brenna Covelens, Josephine Rodgers, Brittney Gellentien and Sophie Monboussin.
Judy Romanisko is the musical director and Julie Romanisko is the choreographer. Costumes and scenery are by Karliene Zack; Ralph Niccolls is the set builder; Anita Repecki is in charge of microphones; and Kelly McElmoyle is in charge of lights.
The stage crew includes Keri Lauer, Shawn Albert and Jackie Palmieri. Wilma Hoppes is in charge of tickets.