LHS students bring 'Footloose' to stage Nov. 7-9
Second-year play director Shawn Kinsinger noticed something special about students at Luverne High School and for the future of performing arts in Luverne.
“I knew they were capable of handling a larger production,” he said. “This, along with the generosity of voters in approving a new performing arts center, was the driving factor behind the decision to go bigger.”
Kinsinger chose “Footloose the Musical” earlier this year.
“Most of the (band and choir) students who were getting awards for leadership and achievement were the same students who were involved in theater,” he said.
“They were also the same students who were leading speech and mock trial to state and finding success.”
Since early September, 27 students have been rehearsing the Rodgers and Hammerstein production.
The performances are scheduled for Nov. 7-9 at the Palace Theatre on Main Street in Luverne.
Industrial arts students build set
The school’s new performing arts center, which opens in 2021, will be to be next to the current industrial arts department.
Plans are for the play sets to be constructed in the adjoining woodshop, and overhead doors will open to easily move sets behind the stage.
This year, however, the 12 students in the building construction class taught by Darrel VanAartsen are constructing the set and moving the pieces by pickup truck to the Palace Theatre.
“It’s a good project for them,” VanAartsen said. “They learn a lot of basic construction elements.”
The set involves a wooden platform, stairs and a ladder.
VanAartsen split the students into groups, and each worked on a specific element. These elements included determining the height of the platform and the correct number of steps for easy climbing.
Student actors study 1984 movie
Based on the 1984 movie “Footloose,” the high school musical features the classic songs “Footloose,” “Holding Out for a Hero,” and “Almost Paradise.”
A few songs are new to the musical from those featured in the movie, Kinsinger said.
None of the high school students were born when Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer danced in the original movie, but the movie provided a learning tool for the students.
“I know they get together and watch it (the movie),” said Kinsinger. “They are really soaking it in.”
The musical story centers on Ren McCormack (portrayed by junior Seno Chanthalangsy), who was raised in Chicago and moves with his mom, Ethel (junior Sophie Holmberg), to the small town of Bomont, Utah.
Ren befriends Willard Hewitt (sophomore Luke Thorson), and from him Ren learns that dancing and rock music have been banned in the town.
Ren falls in love with rebellious teenager Ariel (senior Hannah Ehlers) whose father, the Rev. Shaw Moore (senior Jordan Winter), and mother, Vi (senior Alexa Chesley), are against the senior prom Ren wants to organize.
Dance moves learned on set
Will there be dancing and rock music at the senior prom?
For Junior Luke Thorson, whose character learns to dance during the production, the dance moves have been the toughest to learn.
“I can’t naturally dance,” Thorson said. “In the second act I have to actually dance and I’m doing a decent job.”
Other cast members include Ariel’s best friends Rusty, Wendy Jo and Eleanor (junior Rylee Gee, senior Meagan Hansen and sophomore Mia Wenzel) and Ariel’s jealous boyfriend Chuck (sophomore Pierce Cunningham).
Other cast members include:
•Seniors Nicole Hoogland, Kaitlyn McDowell, Melanie Rittenhouse, Anita Cole-Kraty
•Juniors Ann Dara, Ainslie Robinson, Xavier Carbonneau, Solveig Tofteland, Sadie Reisdorfer, McKenzie Van Grootheest, Josie Golla;
•Sophomore Chance Tunnisen;
•Freshmen Ashlyn Johnson, Parker Carbonneau, Myles Trimble.
Egypt Forrest, a freshman, is handling stage lights, and exchange student Stepan Orletskyy is organizing the props.
Kinsinger said some students who normally are involved in stage production and lighting wanted to be on stage for “Footloose.”
“Those guys on stage look like they’re having fun,” he recalls them saying.
Performances are Thursday, Nov. 7, Friday, Nov. 8, and Saturday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. at the Palace Theatre on Main Street Luverne.
Tickets are currently on sale at the Palace Box Office, 507-283-4339, or www.palacetheatre.us. Cost is $6 for adults and $4 for students.