Students get ‘footloose’ in musical

Published 9:47 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Students at Nansemond River High School get into character for their upcoming performances in “Footloose.”

Delighting wearers of leg warmers and fans of fluorescent from across Suffolk, Nansemond River High School is reprising 1980s cult classic “Footloose” for its annual spring musical.

Including ‘80s anthems “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” “(I Need a) Hero,” “Almost Paradise,” “Heaven Help Me” and the famous title song, audiences will be treated to a fun-loving and vibrant show, director Joleen Neighbours said.

The production is based on the 1988 Broadway musical, in turn based on the 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon, she said.

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“A lot of them (the students) watched the 2011 remake, but I tried to tell them the stage musical is more reflective of the 1984 movie,” she said.

“Footloose” cast and crew members have been rehearsing diligently and are poised for memorable performances.

Jasmyne McNeal said the experience of playing Rusty is “a lot of fun. It’s very raw and you don’t really see the whole picture before you get further into it.”

Dominique Corse, playing Vi More, will have performed in three productions this year. “This (the theater) is something I fell in love with,” she said.

“If I could have discovered it earlier I probably would have switched (career aspirations), but I’m going into the medical field.”

Jasmine B. Davis thinks she can bring as much fun to the character of Urleen as she did to the Grinch in 2011. “I made the Grinch fun — he was mean, but fun,” she said.

Representing those behind the scenes, Jala Lockhart is the show’s choreographer. “It’s just something that I have always had a passion for, so why not help?” she said.

The show’s highlight, as far as Neighbours is concerned, is definitely the musical performances. “They’re the songs that became famous as part of the soundtrack,” she said. “Everybody will know the songs.”

She said the school community, led by Principal Thomas McLemore, is very supportive of the production, which has between 60 and 70 students involved.

Special-effects lighting and audio expertise is also coming from Nansemond River’s Suffolk Public School Partner in Education, Suffolk Audio Services.

“My main goal as an arts instructor is to show kids that arts equals jobs,” Neighbours said. “There is much more than just performing with the arts.”

“Footloose” will be performed for the public at 7:30 p.m. May 10 through May 12. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for students and Suffolk Public Schools employees.

For more information, call the school on 923-4101.