Actors, tech for Footloose prepare for stage

by Trinity Fields/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Ashton Morris, 12, prepares to run sound for the musical. 

As the drama department gets ready to host Footloose: The Musical, Carolyn Voigt, the director, is very excited for this event coming up on May 1-3. Voigt explained what she is looking forward to most.  “I am looking forward to sharing all of our hard work with our friends, family, and community,” she said. “I love when the students put on a great performance and get to greet their supporters after the show.  You can really tell that they had a blast, and they’re always smiley and giddy after the show. Seeing them that happy makes me feel like all of our work was worthwhile.”

Voigt also talked about her favorite part about directing plays and musicals. “The best part of directing the plays and musicals is getting the opportunity to work with such talented students, and when they are willing to try new things or we can bounce ideas off of each other, we build a scene together that is meaningful and heartfelt.” 

In contrast to the best things, Voigt also talked about the challenges of directing. She said, “I think that as our wonderful program continues to grow, it can be challenging to sit at the helm of 100+ students who sometimes have work, a club to attend certain days, are sick from school another day, and so on.  Building the rehearsal calendar is like a huge puzzle, but yet all of those pieces keep shifting around. The best way to compensate for that is to be an effective communicator as a student, and try to hold a line between being flexible and steadfast as a director.”

Christopher O’ Connor, 11, plays the lead role, Ren McCormack. O’Connor talked about how he plans on preparing for the show. O’Connor said, “Preparing for the show is just going to consist of a lot of practice. Whether it be working on choreography at home or constantly studying my lines, it all comes down to putting in the work.” The play is not without its challenges, however. “The most challenging part so far has been the choreography. Footloose is a show about dancing, so making sure the dances are clean and look good is really important.” 

O’Connor also talked about how he played Troy Bolton in last year’s musical, High School Musical. The reason why O’Connor decided to be a part of this musical is, “I decided to be a part of the musical because I loved my experience from last year’s musical, and wanted to be a part of that kind of experience again.” The last thing O’Connor talked about was what he where he wanted to be at the end of the musical. O’Connor said, “I want to take away all the fun memories and new friendships that I’m sure I will make during this show.” 

Kaya Billman, 11, plays Ethel McCormack, Ren’s mother. Billman started out talking about what she is anticipating the most. Billman said, “I’m looking forward to being able to sing with other people. My favorite part of the musical is always being able to sing with others.” Billman also talked about how she plans on preparing for the musical. She said, “I plan to sing quite a bit on my own time and with my friends in order to get and keep my voice in shape.” The best part so far for Billman is, “Ethel is a fun, sarcastic character, and I like how witty she is. It’s just been fun to interact with others as Ethel.” 

The most difficult part so far for Billman is, “Singing on my own is challenging, particularly because this is my first named role in a musical and I’m used to being in the ensemble. Trying to hold my own musically in the spotlight will be a challenge for which I’m excited.” Billman talked about her past plays and musicals. She explained, “I’ve been in every play possible since the end of my freshman year. I’ve been in Once Upon a Mattress, One Acts, The Diary of Anne Frank, Regionals 2018-19, High School Musical, Jack and the Giant Beanstalk, and Cheaper by the Dozen.” The last thing Billman talked about was what she wanted to take away at the end. Billman said, “I hope to bring with me some confidence and experience after the musical because this show contains many firsts for me.” 

Benjamin Grimes, 12, is playing the role of Reverend Shaw. The first thing Grimes discussed is what he is looking forward to most. Grimes said, “This musical, in my opinion, has some charming writing and character interaction. Playing off of my fellow actors is something I’m looking forward to, on stage and off stage.” Grimes has participated in the sound department for Pippin, many One Acts, Jungle Book, and High School Musical, just to name a few.

Grimes continued with why he decided to be a part of this musical. He explained, “I was going to do this show as a part of the sound department, per usual, but my friend got me to come to auditions, and I suppose they liked me. Regardless, I wanted to be a part of the musical because theater is something I have been a part of since the first show my freshman year, and I wanted to be a part of it at the end, too.” 

The final thing Grimes mentioned is what he wants to take away from this musical. Grimes said, “I want to come away having developed some performance skills, but mostly I just want to walk away with positive experiences, and a fun end to my senior year.”