Footloose is a musical based on the 1984 movie of the same name. The music is by Tom Snow (among others), the lyrics by Dean Pitchford (with additional lyrics by Kenny Loggins), and the book is by Pitchford and Walter Bobbie.
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 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). It was nominated for several Tony Awards.
After playing to packed houses, the production closed on 11 November 2006, when the theatre became unavailable for a longer run. After completing its third UK tour, it returned to the West End, where it played from 17 August 2007 to 6 December 2007 at the Playhouse Theatre. On 6 March 2008, it returned from its hiatus for an open-ended run in London.
The production transferred into London's West End, starring David Essex and Cheryl Baker in April 2006, before closing in November of the same year - due to the limited availability of the Novello Theatre. Currently, the production is on its third national tour, which opened in Salford in January 2007, and will continue until July 2007. There are then plans to return the production to London.
Footloose is currently touring the UK as of September 2008.
Ren McCormack - Stephen Webb
Ariel Moore - Twinnie Lee Moore
Vi Moore - Maureen Nolan
Rev Shaw Moore - Richard Grieve
Rusty - Jodie Jacobs
Wendy-Jo - Claire-Louise Mealor
Urleen - Tarisha Rommick
Willard Hewitt - Simon Lipkin
Chuck Cranston - Robbie Scotcher
Ethel McCormack - Lisa Peace
Lyle - Ricky Morrell
Principal Clark - Martin Johnston
The next day, Ren shows up for school and immediately becomes friends with Willard Hewitt, a slow-witted cowboy with a bad attitude and a strong loyalty to his mother. Ren tells Willard about 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 and her friends then explains to a bemused Ren that dancing is illegal after Reverend Moore passed a law forbidding dancing after his son died in a car accident returning from a dance. They then warn him to lay low unless he wants to get into even more trouble than he already is. ("Somebody's Eyes").
In the next scene, Ariel returns home to a disgruntled Shaw, who stubbornly ignores her despite her repeated attempts to engage conversation with him. Exasperated, she leaves the room in a huff, leaving the Reverend and Vi, his wife, alone to bicker over her. Shaw expresses his concern over Ariel's relationship with Chuck Cranston, but when Vi attempts to assure him their fling will soon cool down, he silences her and storms off to finish writing his sermon. Ethel, fed up with the groundless suspicion that Ren as the "new kid" is forced to suffer, enters the kitchen to commiserate with Vi over a cup of tea. The two discuss how no one ever listens to them, everyone being so set in their own ways that they are seldom allowed to get a word in edgewise ("Learning to be Silent").
After school that day, several of the students go to the Burger Blast, 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 and roller skates, as he has just been hired to work at the restaurant. When Ren takes Ariel's order, she flirts with him. Willard 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 in a fury and starts to yell at Ariel. Ren and Willard come to her defense, but it is Betty Blast, 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. Unbeknownst to them, Chuck witnesses the pair together. Afterwards, Ren walks her home, catching the Reverend and Vi by surprise, as they had believed that Ariel was at home in her room all the while. Despite Shaw's displeasure at his daughter's disobedience, a nervous Ren absentmindedly insults him in an attempt to ease his worries, ironically only making the situation more awkward and causing all of Shaw's friends (who were over playing a game of bridge) to dash off. An irritated Shaw then sternly orders Ariel to cease her visits with him, but Ariel retaliates, claiming that he is doing no more than make her feel like a prisoner. After a fed up daughter and wife storm off in a rage, Shaw begins to feel a pang of guilt, pondering whether or not he is being fair with his daughter while considering the problematic task of being both a preacher and a father ("Heaven Help Me").
At school the next day, Ren shows up late to gym class with Ariel and Willard and explains to the teacher that he was jumped by Chuck, but the teacher won't listen. Ren laments that the citizens of Bomont are so "wound up", muttering that at least in Chicago he had the clubs to turn to in times of stress. After a quip by Willard suggesting that they "should take the coach dancing", Ren realizes that throwing a dance would be the perfect way to alleviate the teenagers' pressures, whilst at the same time making a statement to Reverend Moore and the town council. Willard tells Ren that he is insane, but Ren won't listen and reveals his plan to all of the students, eventually winning them over. Word catches on to Reverend Shaw, who, as the one responsible for banning it to begin with, is determined to do anything within his power to ensure that it does not happen ("I'm Free").
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 because of the way he feels about their son's death 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 a way 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 explains that he can't give up ("Mama Says"). Just as Ren's confidence has built up, Ariel shows up with a black eye and tells Ren that Chuck beat her up. Willard and his friends go off to find Chuck, and Ren comforts Ariel. Ariel reveals the truth about her brother and gives Ren a Bible with various passages he can use for his motion. It is then they both realize they've fallen in love with each other ("Almost Paradise").
At the town council meeting, Ren stands up and explains to the council, including the principal, coach, and Reverend Moore, that dancing is written about in the Bible and should not be illegal ("Dancing is not a Crime"). Ren is favorably supported, but the members don't listen and the motion is dismissed.
After the meeting, Ren's mother explains that Shaw had those votes locked no matter what, and she suggests for Ren to go talk to him. Ren goes to the church on the suggestion of his mother and explains to Reverend Moore that he should not take his anger about his son's death out on the entire town. Shaw becomes furious and kicks him out of the church and remembers back to when his son was alive ("I Confess"). The memory fills him with a long-missed happiness and he realizes that Ren is right, and knows what he must do.
At the next service, Shaw 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. After the crowd leaves, Vi and Shaw are left on stage alone, where Shaw tells Vi how much he loves her and how he has made many mistakes in the past ("Can You Find It In Your Heart?" (Reprise)). The show ends with a huge dance that the Reverend, his wife, and even the townsfolk attend ("Footloose/Finale").
Act II (REVISED)
In April 2005, the show was revised slightly. Professional theatre companies must now perform the new revised version while educational theatre companies, such as schools and youth community theatres, can continue to perform the old production. Aside from numerous tweakings to the script, there are slight differences in the revised version's musical numbers. Chief among these is a brand new song opening Act II called "Still Rockin.'" Other changes include the removal of the 'rap' "Dancing is not a Crime". Only the very first section of the rap is used and right before "Mama Says" instead of during the Town Council meeting. Ren gives a speech instead during the meeting. Also, the Reverend's song "I Confess" has also been removed and replaced with a much longer and more emotional scene with Ren after the Town Council meeting and a short reprise of "Heaven Help Me" sung by Reverend Moore alone. Furthermore, the show now begins with Rusty, Wendy Jo, and Urleen singing the opening of "Footloose" instead of Ren and the boys, and during "Learning to be Silent" Ariel sings with Vi and Ethel during the song.