Tag Archives: Musical

I am telling my friends: Go cut Footloose!

27 Jul
Colin Sheen and Company in Footloose, 2015 Season. Photographer: Darlene O’Rourke.

Colin Sheen and Company in Footloose, 2015 Season. Photographer: Darlene O’Rourke.

By Diva Caroline Thuss

I am feeling a flashback after enjoying another stellar musical at the Huron Country Playhouse near Grand Bend yesterday.

From the neon coloured clothing, teased hair with scrunchies, acid washed jeans and large wads of chewing gum, the cast of Footloose: The Dance Musical in Sunday’s opening performance had me looking through old photos from my childhood and reminiscing about what growing up in the 1980s was like (even though I was very young when the original Footloose movie was released).

Having the pleasure of taking in several of the offerings so far this Drayton Entertainment season, I was excited at the opportunity to see another hit.  This time I was up in the balcony and I was pleasantly surprised by how good the view was. The rows were staggered so that even if the person in front of me shifted a lot in his seat it would not affect my view of the stage. Definitely worth considering getting tickets up there the next time.

As soon as the curtains open, the audience starts to feed off the high energy of the ensemble of “Footloose” and it allows us to get the feel for Colin Sheen as the defiant outsider, Ren McCormack. Sheen oozes talent (who can rollerskate like that anymore?) with his vocal talents, dance moves and looks the role of the teen heartthrob. I enjoyed Sheen as Gilbert and Danielle Wade as Anne in Anne of Green Gables earlier this season. The chemistry between Sheen and Danielle Wade, who plays Ariel, is evident in the pair’s rendition of “Almost Paradise” although my theatre companion thought it was a bit corny…that was the traditional love ballad of the ‘80s! Wade is able to portray the multiple sides of Ariel with ease and belts out one of my favourite tunes “Holding Out for a Hero” with passion.

I found that as good as Sheen and Wade are in their leading roles – and they are both excellent – my favourite scenes are the ones with Nick Settimi as Ren’s dancing challenged friend, Willard and Jade Repeta as Ariel’s friend, Rusty. The number of one-liners that Settimi delivers has the audience cheering for him and Repeta’s rendition of “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” had me dancing (and very quietly singing) along in my seat.

Director and choreographer Timothy French has put together a solid cast filled with amazing talent and backed by a great orchestra led by the incredibly talented Craig Fair. The ensemble was great as well with some very talented dancers. It was easy to hate David Cotton’s character of Chuck Cranston, Ariel’s abusive boyfriend. I was hoping that Ren would knock him out at several points.

Victor A. Young delivers a very moving performance as the Reverend Shaw Moore. In his song near the end of the show, “Heaven Help Me,” Young wrings every ounce of emotion out of it he can. Susan Gilmore as the Reverend’s wife, Vi, Rebecca Poff as Ren’s single mother, Ethel, and Wade come together beautifully for “Learning to be Silent”.

Once the cast kicks off their Sunday shoes for the finale, the audience was all up, clapping and dancing along with the ensemble. I can almost guarantee that you will leave the theatre dancing and singing too!

Footloose: The Dance Musical runs until August 8.

Tickets are $42 for adults and $25 for youth under 20 years of age. Tickets for preview performances and groups of 20 or more are $34. Tickets may be purchased online, in person at the Drayton Entertainment Box Offices, or by calling (519) 238-6000 or toll free 1-855-DRAYTON (372-9866).

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I’m Wilder than her!

13 Jun

By Diva Jenna Ujiye

Dear Johnny Deere

Blyth Festival

June 11 – 22, 2013

Photo by Terry Manzo

Photo by Terry Manzo, J.D.Nicholsen and Rebecca Auerbach play Johnny and Caroline.in the production of Dear Johnny Deere, which is currently playing at Blyth Festival Theatre.

On Tuesday I was fortunate to attend the Blyth Festival Theatre and watch the first 2013 performance of Dear Johnny Deere. I was so happy to hear that Blyth Festival decided to bring back the show for a short run, as I was not able to make it in 2012. I had only heard and read good things and I really was blown away. I said to a friend that it reminds me of  growing up in Huron County!

The show was written by Ken Cameron, directed by Eric Coates and based on the songs of Fred Eaglesmith. I hadn’t listened to Eaglesmith before, but have now downloaded a few of his tunes and I can’t seem to get the songs WhiteTrash and I’m Wilder Than Her out of my head!

The cast of Dear Johnny DeereThe set is simple with the main focus of a baby grand piano and musical instruments hung up all over the place. We were told at the beginning to “use our imagination”, right away I thought … I know some people who might have trouble with that… but after watching the show and seeing how the cast and set inspired imagination, it was no problem at all.

The music and harmonies had me at the first song, fiddle, guitar, bass, drums and multiple guitars brought a smile to my face. I grew up in a family that sat around jamming and playing this kind of music at every gathering. This show is really great and if you are hoping to get out to Blyth to see it, you better book your ticket now. It is only running until June 22. Here is the link for you to get more information: http://www.blythfestival.com/#!blank/c1lxg to book tickets you can also call 1.877.862.5984

Blyth Festival is located on main street Blyth Ontario. They have five other shows that will be on this summer: