Footloose was based on a movie of the same name which was released in 1984. The movie starred Kevin Bacon, John Lithgow, Lori Singer, Dianne Wiest, Chris Penn, and Sarah Jessica Parker.
It was written by Dean Pitchford, Tom Snow, Walter Bobbie, and Kenny Loggins.
Footloose the Musical opened at Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre on October 5th, 1998 and ran until July 2nd, 2000.
Original Broadway Cast
Footloose received an at-best mixed critical reception though it was reasonably successful. General consensus was that the show was in and of itself poor, but the music and talented cast made it entertaining. Footloose has developed a cult following since its original release. It apparently has been one of the most frequently performed school plays in recent years, at least in the United States (see here for discussion on this subject).
The London production of Footloose – The Musical, opened at the Novello Theatre on the Strand on Tuesday 18 April 2006, following previews from Saturday 8 April 2006.
Original London cast
2006 UK National Tour
The second UK national tour of Footloose – The Musical opened on 4 January 2006 at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay. It starred Cheryl Baker and Stephen McGann and went on to tour another eleven venues including Glasgow, Plymouth, Woking, Manchester and Southampton.
The production transferred into London's West End in April 2006. A new UK tour is currently being booked for 2007.
Ren MacCormack is in a dance club in Chicago ("Footloose") and finds out from his mother, Ethel, that they are moving to a town called Bomont. In Bomont, Ren and Ethel attend church and get their first glimpse of Reverend Shaw Moore ("On Any Sunday") who is a big authority figure in the town. After church, the Reverend's daughter, Ariel, runs off to find her boyfriend Chuck Cranston, who is, for lack of a better term, trailer trash, and only wants to get in Ariel's pants ("The Girl Gets Around"). While they are embracing, the Reverend shows up and catches Chuck with his hands around his daughter. He is not happy.
The next day, Ren shows up for school and immediately becomes friends with Willard Hewitt, a Cowboy with a bad attitude and a strong loyalty to his mother. Ren tells Willard of the dancing he used to do in Chicago ("I Can't Stand Still"). Willard tries to stop him from dancing in the middle of the school, but Ren ignores him and puts on a show in front of the school principal, who angrily explains that dancing is illegal in the town of Bomont. Willard defends Ren, saying that he is new in town and does not know the rules. After the principal leaves, Rusty, who is madly in love with Willard, tells him how brave he is to have stood up the principal on Ren's behalf. Rusty then explains to an amazed Ren that dancing is illegal ("Somebody's Eyes") after Reverend Moore passed a law forbidding dancing after his son died in a car accident returning from a dance.
In the next scene we see Ethel, who has gone over to the Moore house to have tea with the Reverend's wife, Vi Moore. The two discuss how no one listens to them and everyone is set in their own ways ("Learning to be Silent")
After school that day, several of the students go to Betty Blast's, a burger restaurant. Ariel, Rusty and their friends are doing homework at a table while Willard talks to Ren, who is dressed up in a waiter's uniform as he has just been hired to work at the restaurant. When Ren takes Ariel's order, she flirts with him. He returns to Willard, who warns Ren that Chuck Cranston would not be happy if Ren were to become involved with Ariel. Ren then proceeds to question Willard about his relationship with Rusty. Willard proclaims that he thinks she is very good looking, but is annoyed by her nonstop talking. The scene shifts back to Ariel's conversation with her friends, and she is talking about how she wants to find a decent guy ("Holding Out for a Hero"). As she finishes her song, Chuck shows up and starts to yell at Ariel. Ren and Willard come to her defense, but it is Betty, the owner of the restaurant, who breaks up the fight.
After Ren gets off work, Ariel takes him to her secret place beneath the train tracks where she discusses her hatred of Bomont. Afterwards, Ren walks her home where we meet the Reverend and Vi, who defends Ariel to Reverend Shaw, who tells her that he doesn't want her talking to Ren anymore. Ariel storms off to her room and Vi tells Shaw that he's being too hard on her. After Vi leaves the room, Shaw ponderers whether or not he is being fair with her ("Heaven Help Me").
At school the next day, Ren shows up late to gym class and explains to the teacher that he was jumped by Chuck, but the teacher won't listen. Standing with Ariel and Willard, Ren realizes that the only way to beat the town is to get all the teenagers together and throw a dance. Willard tells Ren that he is insane, but Ren won't listen and tells all of the students of his idea ("I'm Free").
Act two opens with Ren, Ariel, Willard, and Rusty in a town miles from Bomont where there is a big dance hall, complete with a country band ("Let's Make Believe We're in Love"). Rusty repeatedly attempts to dance with Willard, but he weasels his way out, dragging Ren off to the bar to get drinks. There, he explains to Ren that he doesn't know how to dance. Rusty overhears them, and so do several cowboys, who begin to mock Willard. Rusty comes to his defense, saying that he might not be perfect, but she loves him anyway ("Let's Hear it for the Boy"). During Rusty's song, Ren tries to teach Willard to dance, and the song ends with Willard whipping off an amazing dance combination, much to Rusty's surprise.
When Ren brings Ariel home, Shaw is extremely angry with her for seeing Ren. He almost hits her, but he stops himself and Ariel runs from the room. Vi talks to Shaw and tries to explain that he is too hard on her and that she doesn't mean to make him upset ("Can You Find it in Your Heart?").
Meanwhile, Ren, Willard, and their friends are trying to find away to present their idea to the town council. Ren is extremely discouraged and considers forgetting the whole idea. Willard gives Ren some advice that his mother told him and explained that he can't give up ("Mama Says"). Just as Ren's confidence has built up, Ariel shows up and tells Ren that Chuck beat her up. Willard and his friends go off to find Chuck, and Ren comforts Ariel as they pronounce their love for each other ("Almost Paradise").
At the town council meeting, Ren stands up and explains to the council-men, one of them Reverend Moore, that dancing is written about in the bible and should not be illegal ("Dancing is not a Crime") The members don't listen and the motion is dismissed.
After the meeting, Ren goes to the church and explains to reverend Moore that he should not take his anger about his son's death out on the entire town. Shaw kicks him out of the church and remembers back to when his son was alive ("I Confess"). The memory fills him with happiness and he realizes what he must do.
At the next service he tells the whole congregation that he is going to allow the teenagers to hold a dance. They are overjoyed. Ren asks Ariel to the dance and Willard invites Rusty, telling her that he is even willing to dance with her. The show ends with a huge dance that even the Reverend and his wife attend ("Footloose/Finale")
Act 2 (REVISED April 2005)