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ACS students ready to get loose and kick of their Sunday shoes

Arts and EntertainmentACS students ready to get loose and kick of their Sunday shoes

The cast and crew of Assumption College School’s (ACS) Footloose: The Musical are eager to kick off their Sunday shoes for their opening night performance on Thursday, February 29, 2024.

Nearly 80 students have been working hard and punching their cards in preparation for the show run since rehearsals began in October of 2023.

The students have not only been learning choreography, how to sing and memorize their lines, but how to light a set, apply makeup for the stage and create props while also learning how to convey a message.

Footloose: The Musical follows Ren McCormack, a teenager from Chicago who moves to a small town where dancing and rock music have been banned. Along the way, Ren begins to form new relationships while simultaneously trying to bring the joy back into the community and earn their right to express themselves through dance.

Cast members of ACS’ Footloose: The Musical rehearse their final prom scene during rehearsals on Saturday, February 24, 2024.

With colourful costumes, interchangeable set designs, heavy choreography and upbeat musical numbers, the show is sure to get audience members singing and dancing along.

While many of the 43 cast members are no stranger to the stage, others have never been under the bright lights of a set and are learning what it means to work together.

“At the beginning you may know a few people here and there, but at one point we had a potluck together and after that everyone started to really click together and get to know each other, and I think it’s helped our overall performance,” said Ireoluwa Olabisi, who plays Rusty, Ariel Moore’s best friend in the show.

Cast members of ACS’ Footloose: The Musical rehearse an act one scene during rehearsals on Saturday, February 24, 2024.

Matthew Wilson, who plays Reverend Shaw Moore, Ariel Moore’s father, said that while it’s taken time to bring the vision to life, the cast and crew are ready to shine in their performance.

“The process started off a little slow, we were just getting to know each other and the stage, and what was happening in the show, but afterwards we really decided ‘enough dilly-dallying around let’s get some work done, have a great time and let’s show the audience what we have for them,’” he said. “Working with the directors and everyone else has been really helpful and I’m grateful that they’ve been able to help guide us through the lines, nailing down the scenes and tapping into those deep emotions when they’re needed.”

Cast members of ACS’ Footloose: The Musical perform “Let’s Hear it for the Boys” during rehearsals on Saturday, February 24, 2024.

Many of the students agreed that involving themselves in theatre has given them a chance to grow both on and off stage.

“We’ve been doing everything from choreography to learning lines, and how to sing better, so I’m excited for everyone to see it. I think it’s a chance to not only prove myself, but for others to do the same,” said Aiden Gamble, who plays Ren McCormack. “I’ve learned a lot of responsibility and I find myself helping my friends be accountable too because I’m the lead and I can’t help but make sure that they’re getting their stuff right because their win is my win. It’s a lot of teamwork involved.”

Cast members of ACS’ Footloose: The Musical work on a tense scene during rehearsals on Saturday, February 24, 2024.

Cash Maloney, who plays Ren’s best friend, Willard Hewitt, had similar sentiments.

“I’ve learned to not be afraid of being eccentric, being out there, being yourself and not letting anyone silence you or put you down,” he said. “It’s really hard to be on stage because everyone needs to really carry their own weight, or it can be a detriment to the show. It’s hard to put together, but with the right people, it’s really come together and we’re ready to shine.’

Tara Patton, who plays Ariel Moore, said that working with and meeting new friends has given everyone the chance to form not just a cast, but a community. 

“I love the community in it and it’s been very fun, especially near the end of the show, it’s very fast paced but honestly the people I’ve met here have been so nice and it has become a great safe space for all of us,” she said. “Working with others has been fantastic and we have a lot of diversity in the play and with the kind of people you meet, the range is just so vast and I think it’s a great way to build community.”

Cast members of ACS’ Footloose: The Musical rehearse an act one scene during rehearsals on Saturday, February 24, 2024.

Naomi Ratelband, Director for the show, said that it’s been a joy to watch the students grow throughout the process.

“It’s been a steep learning curve but I think they’ve finally really gelled together, and they are starting to love it, so now us as the teachers, are taking a step back and it’s really becoming their show. Theatre is so empowering and it allows them a voice they may never have had and I think it reaffirms their reason to be with the community,” she said. “So, it’s just been incredible and a bit emotional to watch them go from having self-doubt and uncertainty, to just embracing it, taking that risk and finding the reward. From the actors to the lighting, sound and the props crews, it’s been fun to see all the teamwork go into it.”

For those interested in seeing the show, it will run at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 29, Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, 2024. There is also a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Saturday, March 2, 2024.

Cast members of ACS’ Footloose: The Musical rehearse an act two scene during rehearsals on Saturday, February 24, 2024.

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