Sometimes, you just gotta dance. Especially when you’re uprooted from urban Chicago for rural Bomont, a town where dancing and rock 'n roll are banned. The movie Footloose is a seminal stop in the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” but now it's getting a live-action musical performance at Delray Beach’s art champions, Arts Garage, from May 16-19.
Produced by the Garage Players as part of the Performing Arts Academy, Footloose: The Musical will be performed by a full cast of area teenagers and stays true to the story. The production features lyrics from Dean Pitchford—the original writer—and Kenny Loggins, while the music by Tom Snow gives the show a quick pace, performed by a full orchestra in a rock-combo style (keyboard/piano, guitars, bass guitar and drums).
The production is the culmination of the academy’s spring semester, when the Garage Players test their acting, singing and dancing skills in front of an audience in one of the most innovative venues in the county. Working with students aged 3-18, the academy covers the basics in music and theatre education and builds to portfolio and repertoire preparatory work for school admission. The concept of the school, shaped and lead by Artistic Director Drew Tucker, is performance-based, bringing kids together to not just learn but also jam with each other. Tucker was instrumental in the formation of the academy in 2012, merging his private school with the Arts Garage to create the basis of the multidisciplinary school. Students work with professionals in private, one-on-one lessons and in open ensembles in a multitude of disciplines, including guitar, voice, piano, drums, improve and scene study, and a “kids and keys” lesson for children aged 3-5.
The classes offer students guidance and a solid background in their perspective interests, but the ensembles are where they show their stuff. The drama troupe Garage Players is filled with the next generation of actors, who work to produce a show each season and perform for an audience on the Arts Garage stage. A number of bands in different genres from the academy perform all over the city at events like the popular block party “On the Ave.” The band The Beat Farm, for instance, taps into choreographed and improvisational aspects of performance, all while beating and drumming different objects—sort of Stomp meets Blue Man Group. For the “Gleeks” out there, the academy has its own glee program that brings dance and song to a whole new level. Ensembles are formed each semester through audition, giving students a glimpse into industry practices while ensuring members are paired in groups that will help elevate their craft as they play what they love.
“It's unique. These kids get to learn from working professionals in a world-class facility,” Tucker says. “Even [during] practice, they have access to a fully operational stage—lighting and all.”
Footloose is the mission of the academy in action and features a cast filled through an open, public audition.
- Admission is open to the public as well as super-proud parents.
- Tickets start at $15, and as always, its BYOW (Bring Your Own Whatever)
- Showtimes are as follows: May 16-17 at 7:30 p.m.; May 18-19 at 2 p.m.
- For tickets and more information, visit artsgarage.org.