SAFYPT Presents “Footloose”

SAFYPT Presents “Footloose”

Telluride’s Sheridan Arts Foundation Young People’s Theater presents its annual high school musical, this year, “Footloose.” The show goes up Friday, February 3, then runs Saturday, February 4 and Monday, February 6, 2017 at Telluride’s historic Sheridan Opera House. The production is directed by Allie Scherich, artistic director, Young People’s Theater, and choreographed by Danielle Jenkins. Allie’s team also includes Rob Wagner on sound design; Tommy Wince, light design; Buff Hooper, set design.“Footloose” is performed by students in grades 9 – 12 at the Sheridan Opera House. Concessions stand will be open for each show so bring the whole family down for a night of laughter and entertainment. Adults $15; children 18 and under $12 and lap children free ($1 more at the door) or call 970-728-6363 X 5. Scroll down to watch a video of the cast in action at a rehearsal.

balcony, 2

“Footloose, The Musical” is sweet enough to be the dramatic equivalent of a marshmallow – the really good kind, those gooey treats you roasted on a stick over an open fire on a cold night until the outside was toasty and hot and the insides turned to liquid sugar.

In other words, all that fuss and bother by the righteous minister of a small-town church, all Reverend Shaw’s anguish over what he described as “an endless chant of pornography” is, well, delicious fun.

Adapted for the stage by Dean Pitchford and Walter Robbie; book and lyrics by Dean Pitchford; music by Tom Snow, “Footloose, the Musical” tells the story of a city boy, who moves to small town and butts heads with grownups over a local law that prohibits dancing. The boy hooks up with the most rebellious girl in town, the preacher’s daughter, natch, and together they manage to change their world.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “Footloose?” If anything, it is the movie version, right? Kevin Bacon dancing through the barn and swinging in the rafters. Well, Telluride cannot deliver the Bacon –  but director Allie Scherich’s Young People’s Theater will no doubt deliver the goods.

In the local adaptation –  a straight lift from the Broadway, says Allie – the boy Ren is Will Plantz.

My Movie

When Ren discovers that “no dancing of any kind is allowed at any time anywhere within the town limits of Bomont,”  he is told the mandate dates back five years to a car accident that claimed the lives of four Bomont teens. In the flood of grief that followed the tragedy, Reverend Shaw (Aidan Green) convinced Town Council to ban dancing. Local girls warn Ren the climate of fear and suspicion that pervades Bomont is just all part of small-town living. Then when the Reverend’s rebellious daughter Ariel (Sydney Evans) sets her sights on the new kid in town, her roughneck boyfriend (Jaxon Mosher) tries to sabotage Ren’s reputation and all too many locals are eager to tag along with Chuck and believe the worst of this outsider, the scary Other.

The feel-good story that emerges is of a mother and father longing for the son they lost and of a young man aching for the father who walked out on him.

To the rocking rhythm of its Oscar- and Tony-nominated Top 40 score – the soundtrack of the movie version hit #1 on the Billboard charts and sold over 15 million copies – “Footloose” also celebrates the wisdom of guiding young people with open mind and then really listening to them when they speak their hearts.

Why exactly did Allie choose “Footloose” for her first senior production?

Allie Scherich

Allie Scherich

“As I sat down to choose my first season as Artistic Director of YPT, I knew that I wanted to pick titles that kids would be really excited about performing,” she explains. “‘Footloose’ popped into my head almost immediately, since I spent my 20’s touring with this show as an actor. It was one of the most fun shows I’ve ever been a part of, and knew that the kids would love it too. The show offers up all of the popular 80’s songs and fun dancing, while also surprising you with a profound and ultra-relevant story about understanding one another’s different perspectives. We are not using an adapted script. The kids are performing the same show professional companies all over the world are mounting today. ‘Footloose’ is a huge undertaking, but the kids are completely rising to the challenge. I am having a blast with them. They keep me laughing constantly!”

One of three graduating seniors in the cast, Aidan Green, who has been in YPT since second grade, is, again, the righteous Reverent Shaw.

Aiden, Bel & Ceci

Aiden, Bel & Ceci

“I used to be shy and kept to myself, but YPT opened me up. I have much greater self-awareness and am confident about speaking in public. My character in ‘Footloose,’ Reverend Shaw, is, however, my polar opposite. He is church-going and conservative. I am a hockey-playing Telluride hooligan.”

Ceci Taylor, who will be attending CSU when she graduates, is Vi, Shaw’s wife.

“I have always been pretty self-confident. My character Vi is quiet, loving, trusting, and faithful, but unlike her, I would not let any man, really anyone at all, talk over me.”

Bell Richard is Ethel, Ren’s mom, who was abandoned by her husband and left to raise their son.

“Before YPT, I was very shy and did not talk much. Now I am pretty loud and playful. My character Ethel, who is Ren’s mom, is quiet like I was, but she is also supportive, which is how I am now with my friends. I put other people’s needs before mine.”

As Young People’s Theater veterans, all three worked under the direction of founding director Jen Julia.

All three weighed in on Allie, their new director, giving her a big thumbs up.

“Allie has a similar vibe to Jen,” said Ceci.

“In taking over for Jen’s job, Allie had big shoes to fill and she’s filling them well,” said Aidan.

“And did you know, Allie played both Ariel and Rusty in the touring company of ‘Footloose’ back about 16 years ago?,” added Bell.

Cast List:

Bell Richard, Ethel

Ceci Taylor, Vi

Aidan Green, Reverend Shaw

Ronin Wilkes, Willard

Jaxon Mosher, Chuck Cranston

Sydney, Evans Ariel

Will Plantz, Ren

Kody Shugars, Uncle Wes & Cowboy Bob

Rubie deLuca, Cowgirl & Betty Blast

Dietz Woehle, Travis, Boy #1 & Band Member #2

Zachary Davis, Lyle & Boy #2

Megan Reich, Urleen

Macy Desmarais,Wendy Jo

Claudia, Betz Rusty

Jaden Evans, Coach

Claire McNeill, Lulu

Sam Young, Bickle & Band Member #1

Charlotte Botenhagen, Eleanor & Band Member

Linnea Taylor, Principal

Peter Spencer, Garvin, Boy #3, Cop

More about SAFYPT director Allie Scherich:

Allie Scherich came to Telluride in April, by way of New York City where she enjoyed a career as an actor and teaching artist.

As a union actor, Allie performed all over the country in musical theater, as well as on the high seas with Disney Cruise Lines. As a teaching artist, she worked with children at KJK Productions (NYC), Florida Studio Theater (FL), and Childsplay (AZ), to name a few. Allie also has spent 17 years working with Camp Summer Stars, a performing arts camp for inner-city, under-privileged children. In New York, she worked on Broadway and then went on national tours, training professional child actors in “Annie,” “Billy Elliot,” and “Tuck Everlasting.”

Allie’s husband Nathan lived and worked in Telluride 15 years ago and was friends with Jen Julia, founding director of the Sheridan Arts Foundation’s Young People’s Theater. On her first visit to Telluride about 14 years ago, Nathan brought Allie to the Opera House and introduced her to Jen saying: “This is my friend, Jen. She has your job here in town!”  

Ever since that first auspicious meeting, Allie held on to a fantasy about her dream job, especially after getting to know more about Jen and the wonderful program she created. When Allie saw Jen’s Facebook post about sailing around the world, she contacted her within 10 minutes.

“I knew I just had to go for it! We had been dreaming of a reason to move to Telluride for the past 15 years. I always say that I didn’t want to move here just to run a theater program. I wanted to move here (and uproot my entire family- no small task) to run THIS theater program. What I love most about teaching is being able to foster a family of students who are beautifully supportive and each of whom has his or her own moment to grow and shine. And no one has established that better than YPT and Jen Julia, all while making excellent theater. I am so thankful for the unbelievable legacy that I am so very lucky to inherit. Jen and I have similar ideals and I adore the amazing program that she so lovingly spent 17 years building. YPY is non-competitive, fun, creative, loving, and filled with the most wonderful children and families, who have been so very welcoming. I feel right at home here.”

What is Allie’s vision for SAFYPT?

“Mainly, I just want to carry the torch Jen passed on to me and continue to care for the beautiful baby she has entrusted me with. The existing program is so fantastic very few changes need to be made. I just want to keep it all going. My background leans towards musicals, so I have enjoyed bringing some of my musical experience to town and also a bit of a different perspective based on my experiences. But, fundamentally, it is still the same YPT! Enrollment has continued to be high, thanks to the exceptional loyalty of the YPT families. One area we would like to expend though is in our offerings to the youngest actors. I think that is an area with high interest and demand and so we are trying to find new ways to fit the youngest kiddos into the Opera House’s very busy schedule.”

Over the past 15 years, the Scherichs spent as much time in Telluride as their schedules allowed, so Allie always felt like an “honorary local.” And the Scherichs were well aware of all the wonderful reasons to live in the region and what a great place it would be for their own kids to grow up.

“Nathan and I have some very outdoorsy and adventurous little boys, so we thought Oliver and Elliot would love to live in Telluride. And so far, that is the case. The boys are hiking, skiing, and have the most wonderful kindergarten class and teacher anyone could ask for!”

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