NHS students grab their dancing shoes for fall musical ‘Footloose’
Noblesville High School’s fall musical is full of firsts – it is the first time the school has presented “Footloose” and includes many new faces to the stage.
“I really like it,” said junior Cole Hendricks. “It’s a newer musical. I think it’ll get more of the student body here to watch us.”
“It’s fun, different and we haven’t done it before,” said NHS teacher Greg Richards. “We wanted to have a nice sized cast.”
Three of the four main characters – Jordan Owen (Ren McCormack), Hannah Nave (Ariel Moore) and Alysen Lemieux (Rusty) – are all making their NHS acting debuts.
“I’ve seen school musicals in the past. It’s my senior year and I want to be involved in everything music related – broaden my experiences with music,” said Owen, a senior. “I’ve never done a musical before. This musical has a lot more dancing than other musicals. It’s really fun but there’s a lot to take in and remember. It’s coming together well, I’m really excited.”
Nave, a freshman, was in the cast of “Beauty and the Beast” at Noblesville Middle School last year.
“It’s really exciting but also very intimidating,” she said of being the female lead. “I love singing and dancing. I’m really comfortable and it’s lots of fun.”
The last time Lemieux was on stage was in an eighth grade production of “The Music Man,” but she is involved in a majority of the school’s choral groups. Like Owen, Lemieux wanted to cross being in a musical off her “senior bucket list.”
“It’s my senior year and I always wanted to do another musical before I graduated,” she said. “There’s a lot of dancing and singing, which is what I like to do, and it is not as heavy on acting.”
A veteran to the high school and middle stage, junior Cole Hendricks is one of the more experienced actors in the show and enjoys the “fresh blood” in the cast.
“It’s good to get a new perspective,” he said. “You get set in your ways and new people do their own things, something you didn’t think about. You teach them what you know and they teach you from raw ability.”
Hendricks, who plays Willard Hewitt, starts off the show by being atrocious at dancing but improves as the musical progresses.
“I’m not the greatest dance in the world, but I can move a little bit,” he said. “It’s the most choreography-driven shows I’ve done.”
Director Callie Burk said a big plus for the show is that the cast has a lot of strong dancers.
“Surprisingly, the kids are really good at dancing,” she said.
While last year’s senior class graduated many veteran actors and singers, Burk is excited that so many new faces auditioned and are involved this year.
“I highly recommend it to anyone,” she said, adding that the show was tweaked a little to better fit the personalities of newcomers. “Ren has become a drummer in the show because Jordan is a drummer in band. He’s totally come out of his shell.”
While most of the cast saw the original 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, Sarah Jessica Parker and Christopher Penn, they have tried to add their own personal experience to the teenage production.
“I try to do a little bit of Kevin Bacon,” said Owen. “I’m just like Ren – a little rebellious, snippy with teachers.”
“I add my own flair, make it my own,” Hendricks added.
Both Nave and Lemieux also utilized other 80s movies for inspiration for their characters.
“I’m basing it off the original move and other 80 films with really big characters,” said Nave. “You pull from your own experiences in high school.”
“My character is super outgoing, talks all the time and she is in love with this cowboy. I looked up ‘Footloose,’ ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ and other videos from the 80s,” added Lemieux.
While it is just make believe, the cast is thankful Noblesville is nothing like the fictional town of Bomont.
“That would be torture for me,” Nave said.
“If Noblesville were like Bomont I’d die on the inside,” added Lemieux. “Not being able to sing and dance would be awful.”