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Upper School Musical Footloose Performances Delight Audiences

A cast of 30 Upper School students brought the musical theater version of Footloose to life in the Hurlbut Theater last week, four decades after the film debuted in theaters. 
A cast of 30 Upper School students brought the musical theater version of Footloose to life in the Hurlbut Theater last week, four decades after the film debuted in theaters. Footloose is the story of Ren McCormack (Alexander Kim ’24), a teenage boy from Chicago. He and his mom, Ethel (Joelle Yang ’24) move to a small town of Bomont where dancing is outlawed. Ren finds himself at odds with most of the town, including the Reverend Shaw Moore (Els Page ’24). With the help of the minister’s daughter, Ariel (Sophia Kistler ’24) and Willard Hewitt (Lynden Kim ’25) who becomes his best friend, Ren convinces the Reverend to let the teenagers dance, and helps to heal the town from a tragedy. 
At each of the four performances, the audience was fascinated by the strength of the talented ensemble cast. They remarked on outstanding performances by the entire cast. Praise was given for Gigi Policicchio ’24 who played Ariel’s mom, Vi Moore, Grace Burke ’25 and Kevin Hasani ’26 who played Ren’s aunt and uncle, the performances by Ariel’s friends, Rusty (Tessa Maryott ’25), Wendy (Caden Choi ’27), Jo (Fiona Bonilla Duncan ’26), and Urleen (Coco Johnson ’25) as well as Ariel’s boyfriend and local “bad boy” Chuck Cranston (Brayden Brisbois ’27). 
This musical, directed by Dan Pacheco and assistant directed by Cori Samskey, was an upbeat and high-energy production. In addition to the ample singing and harmonizing taught by musical director Lex Leigh, there were several big dance numbers mostly choreographed by Carly Taberski. Paige Minton ‘26 choreographed the large “Holding Out for a Hero” number. In addition to different styles of dance, there were also acrobatics such as frequent back flips by Alex Kim. 
More than 65 students and adults participated in this production. There was a live band in the orchestra pit made up of seven students (Arianne Bruckner, Abby Hancock, Kenji Kothari, Daniel Lyons, Madeline Scott, Rain Xie, and Celia Xu) and five professional musicians, including St. Margaret’s faculty Chris Carbajal and Music Director Lex Leigh. There were also extensive technical aspects throughout, overseen by Technical Director and Resident Designer Gordon Richins and PAC production assistants Justice Musick-Corson and Spencer Keane. 
Jack Justus ’24 designed lighting – and led a student team including RJ Canchola, Carson Good, and Gavin Shams. His projections helped transport the audience to settings such as the church and a high school gym. The Stage Management crew was led by Kaede Titus ’24 with assistance from Claire Martin and Ronin McMahon.
Director of Performing Arts Dan Pacheco said, “The show was an excellent example of cross-discipline collaboration in the performing arts. There was just as much choreography onstage as there was off stage as our student technicians facilitated every move of the sets and lights. What I love most about watching the performances is seeing how each student pushed themselves past what they thought they were capable of–and the result is the high-quality storytelling that the audiences experience.”
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