Arts

Preview: ‘Footloose’ Enthusiastically Boogies Into Santa Monica at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre

Morgan-Wixson's production of "Footloose" will run through Sunday, July 28th in Santa Monica, CA. Image courtesy of the Morgan-Wixson Theatre

It’s quite apropos that, on the 40th anniversary of Footloose — the iconic film starring Kevin Bacon — the Morgan-Wixson mainstage is paying homage with a production of Footloose, the musical, from Saturday, June 29th through Sunday, July 28th. The city of Santa Monica, which is already known for its tireless vivacity, will now be dancing with reckless abandon with the freedom from incurring any criminal penalties. After all, “Dancing Is Not a Crime,” nor should it ever be.

Directed and choreographed by Niko Montelibano, and featuring a cast of 31 performers, the Morgan-Wixson Theatre, which prides itself on being a grassroots community theatre at its core, is geared and ready to spin, kick, jump, slide, shimmy, and clap to the lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and music by Tom Snow, Eric Carmen, Sammy Hagar, Jim Steinman and, of course, Kenny Loggins.

To this day, the title song by Loggins compels feet to start instantaneously moving, a reaction which attendees of the Morgan-Wixson won’t be immune to as they will inevitably find themselves whipped into an excited frenzy even while seated in their chairs. Not to mention, there are a collection of other stirring numbers, including “Holding Out for a Hero” (made famous by Bonnie Tyler), “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” (recorded by Deniece Williams), and “Almost Paradise” (conceived as a duet between Ann Wilson of Heart and Mike Reno of Loverboy).

What’s not to love about a musical adaptation, which premiered on Broadway in 1998, and captures the movie’s message so well? The narrative begins when Ren McCormack, a high school student from Chicago, and his mom Ethel, move to a much less cosmopolitan town in Bomont which has shockingly forbidden dancing. The leading opposition to the innocuous physical movement is Reverend Shaw Moore whose daughter, Ariel, plays a key piece in a conflict stemming from the supposed impropriety of letting (foot) loose to music.

In the end, the musical’s motifs center around acceptance, intolerance, oppression, and resilience in the face of obstacles that threaten intrinsic human expression. The Morgan-Wixson Theatre — through the power of song, acting, and dance — intends to convey all of that and more this summer.

The Morgan-Wixson Theatre is located at 2627 Pico Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90405. Morgan-Wixson’s production of Footloose runs through Sunday, July 28th. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit morgan-wixson.org.

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