Playhouse actors cut 'Footloose'

1980s musical is on stage through May 26

1980s musical is on stage through May 26

March 22, 2007|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

For several actors cast in Washington County Playhouse's upcoming run of "Footloose," there's more to the production than nailing the lines and choreography.

Take Sarah Schofield, for example.

"I play the town bad girl," said Sarah, 17, of Hagerstown, a self-described "prim-and-proper, all-American girl."

"It's difficult to get as angry as (Ariel) does," she said. "Kelly (the producer) always tells me to think about talking back to my mom. That seems to work."

"Footloose" debuts Friday and will run weekends through May 26 at the Hagerstown troupe's downtown theater.

A cast of nearly 30 - most of them area high-schoolers - will perform in the '80s musical. The production is based on the 1984 movie of the same name that starred Kevin Bacon and included Sarah Jessica Parker.

Many of the cast, such as Sarah, aren't new to acting, nor are they newcomers to the Playhouse's stage. But each show still presents a new set of challenges.


Not only does Sarah, a senior at North Hagerstown High School, have to adopt a different persona, but the opera-trained singer also must belt rock 'n' roll songs for her role.

"It's very difficult," she said. "I'm very nervous. I practice every day."

The production might have a bittersweet ending for two of the actors cast.

It might be the last chance for producer Kelly Jenkins-Moreland to perform alongside her son, Brandon Jimenez, before he goes away to college.

The 17-year-old Boonsboro High School graduate is playing the lead role, Ren McCormack. Jenkins-Moreland will star as Ethel, the character's mother.

Brandon, who has been with the Playhouse for at least 10 years, is attending his first semester at Hagerstown Community College. But he is eyeing four-year colleges and could go as far away as Arizona to attend school after his second semester at HCC.

While Brandon has played principal roles in other Playhouse productions, Jenkins-Moreland said this is the first time he's taken on such a mature character.

In the musical, Brandon portrays Ren, a young man from Chicago who's forced to move with his mother to a small town after his father abandons the family. There's one problem: Dancing and rock 'n' roll are forbidden. In the end, Ren is able to convince the powers that be that rock music and dance aren't so bad after all.

"It's a good role for Brandon," said Jenkins-Moreland, who said that often teenagers are too old to play children but aren't mature enough to play adults. "I was waiting on him to be old enough and mature enough to play this kind of role."

If you go ...

WHAT: "Footloose" the musical, presented by Washington County Playhouse

WHEN: Show debuts at 6 p.m. Friday, March 23, and will run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, through May 26. No shows Easter weekend. Showtimes are 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 1 p.m. Sundays.

WHERE: Washington County Playhouse, 44 N. Potomac St., Hagerstown

COST: $30 for adults. $26 for seniors and students.

MORE: For more information, call the Washington County Playhouse at 301-739-7469.

Cast list

Ren McCormack - Brandon Jimenez

Ethel McCormack - Kelly Jenkins-Moreland; Susan Strider Martin (understudy)

The Rev. Shaw Moore - Bubby Lewis

Vi Moore - Amanda HeraldAriel Moore - Sarah Schofield; Lauren Ebbin (understudy)

Lulu Warnicker - Sophie Lewis

Wes Warnicker - Earl Moreland Jr.

Coach Roger Dunbar -Nate LaDow

Eleanor Dunbar - Kelly Kugler; Katie Williams (understudy)

Rusty - Karilee Grossnickle; Kelly Kugler (understudy)

Urleen -Ashley Myers; Kelly Kugler (understudy)

Wendy Jo - Lauren Ebbin; Kelly Kugler (understudy)

Chuck Cranston - Cody Derr; Dustin Perrott (understudy)

Lyle - Dustin Perrott

Travis -Mike Kozlowski

Cop - Drew Rittenhouse

Betty Blast - Loretta Czerbinski

Willard Hewitt - Evan MacKenzie

Principal Harry Clark - Eric Hurd; Zane Oberholzer Jr. (understudy)

Jeter - Sean Kros

Bickle - Drew Rittenhouse

Irene - Kelly Kugler; Katie Williams (understudy)

Cowboy Bob - Zane Oberholzer Jr.

Townspeople - Katherine Hoagland, Britta Troxell, Lauren Carter, Gillian Kramer, Mikaela Gift, Shawna Kelly, Derek Jimenez

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