The past four years, Marion High School’s musicals have been set in Biblical times (“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”), the Middle Ages (“Cinderella” and “Once Upon a Mattress”), and the 1850s (“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”).
This year, director Janet Killough chose a musical set much more recently, “Footloose,” adapted from the 1984 movie starring Kevin Bacon.
It is the story of a teenager from Chicago, played by Justin Terrel, who moves to a town in Texas where dancing is prohibited and his effort to change the law.
It has several dance numbers, but they are mostly at the beginning and end of the musical, Killough said. Marion High School alumna Jay Dee Schafers, who is on a theater scholarship at Butler Community College, has assisted with choreography.
“Footloose” has the largest cast Marion has had for many years, but only three seniors are in the cast, Killough said. One of those seniors is Nick Meyer, who plays the Rev. Shaw Moore, the influential minister who pushed for the dancing ban.
Because he is opposed to the young people who want to legalize dancing — being the closest thing to a villain in the musical — Meyer’s part is heavy on solos.
“It’s a bigger responsibility,” he said.
Meyer said he has enjoyed watching the other cast members rehearsing dances and songs. It has been great to see how much progress they have made, he said.
Killough said with such a large cast, she has depended on the seniors to help keep the younger cast members on-task in rehearsals and with stage direction.
“My upperclassmen are really helping in that area,” she said.
Meyer said the cast has banded together. When rehearsals have gone long and there has been a risk of people getting grouchy, instead they have shown a good sense of humor, he said.
“We’re all in the same boat,” Meyer said. “The younger cast members, they’ve really impressed me.”
He said they have paid attention and showed up ready to learn and work.
Killough praised the hard work of cast members on the football team. After the team’s game on Saturday, they showed up to rehearsal that evening and learned three new dance numbers.
The biggest challenge for the production has been set design. The show includes many scene changes. To accommodate quick scene changes, Killough implemented an abstract, modular set design.
Performances will be at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Advance tickets for Friday and Saturday cost $3 for adults or $2 for children 12 or younger and are available at the County Seat Decorating Center. Friday and Saturday tickets at the door will cost $5. Tickets for Sunday will only be available at the door, but at advance ticket prices.