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LOHS students cut loose - 'Footloose'

Curtain rises on the school's fall musical next week

Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego High School students do a number during rehearsal, from left: Harrison King, Andrew Firmin, Galileo Pacioni, Nick Harrod, Thomas Curran Taylor Larson and Alec North.Like many characters in the upcoming Lake Oswego High School musical, “Footloose,” Nick Harrod, who plays the lead, is a senior who’s about to go into the world on his own.

“I know a lot of people say I can’t wait to leave this town, but this is my home, and I’m not sure I want to leave and never come back,” says Harrod, who plays Ren, aka the Kevin Bacon character.

Whether or not you’ve seen the Kevin Bacon “Footloose,” the 2011 remake or the 1998 musical, it’s hard not to notice that LOHS’s take on the classic, which opens Nov. 13, possesses a certain authenticity. The students who play angst-ridden teens in a small town bring to their roles a fresh-faced earnestness that elicits not only warm memories of a box office smash but also the nostalgia for a time when most of us were filled with more feeling and energy than we have been since.Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Thomas Curran and Julia Logue prep for Footloose, which opens Nov. 13.

Take LOHS junior MacKenna Gordon, in the role of Ren’s love interest Ariel, who thrills at simply being onstage.

“It’s exciting; it’s kind of exhilarating,” Gordon says.

That excitement is intensified with a live production without the luxury of another take.Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - LOHS junior MacKenna Gordon, in the role of Rens love interest Ariel, loves being onstage. Ren, played by Nick Harrod, is the Kevin Bacon character in Footloose.

“It’s adrenaline,” director Bob McGranahan says. “It’s high school adrenaline. It’s a force to be reckoned with. It’s great. It can be great to work with, but holy cow.”

While a much-loved movie that captured the hearts of high schoolers, the 1984 “Footloose” cast two 20-somethings in the lead roles, Bacon, almost 26 at the time; and Lori Singer (Ariel), who was approaching 27. The 2011 Ren, Kenny Wormald, was born the year the first movie came out, and his Ariel, Julianne Hough, was 23 back then. The stars of the Broadway musical, which ran until 2000, are on the 1960s side of Generation X.

The vibrancy of youth makes the LOHS show a little more special, but whoever walks in the characters’ shoes, they are recreating iconic scenes, such as when Ren challenges Ariel’s dad, Rev. Shaw, and the town council to lift the ban on dancing and rock ‘n’ roll. Such things, after all, “celebrate spiritual corruption” and are what Shaw blames for the death of his son and three other teens in a car accident five years before.

“There was a time for this law, but not anymore,” Ren tells the council. “This is our time.”Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - High school adrenaline is a force to be reckoned with, says director Bob McGranahan, and hes harnessing that energy for the big LOHS production of Footloose.

Ren, the new kid in town, not only shakes things up with his gyrations but also repels a tough guy to romance Shaw’s daughter, spicing up the plot with that classic bad boy-preacher’s daughter dynamic. Ariel and Shaw’s clashes add to the show’s intensity.

“I think my favorite part is when my dad and I make up, and it just feels really real,” Gordon says. “All the scenes with Rev. Shaw are really fun because you get to yell at him.”

Harrod also loves those Shaw scenes, and he and Gordon agree much of that is a credit to LOHS junior Miles Rigby, whose deep voice and passion reverberate through his lines.

“I think that’s an honor, frankly,” Rigby says. “You know the people you like to play scenes with, and to be that person is excellent.”

His favorite part is a confrontation between the reverend and that rebellious upstart, Ren, “because emotions go up so high.”Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - LOHS junior Miles Rigby says the passion and depth of feeling of his character, Rev. Shaw, is what makes him so human and accessible.

If all those familiar scenes don’t rouse old memories, then the music will as soon as the curtain rises and the show kicks off with its corresponding, eponymous Kenny Loggins hit. Sprinkled throughout are tunes including the 1980s earworm hits “Let’s Hear it for the Boy,” “Almost Paradise” and “Holding Out for a Hero.” The musical features additional songs but keeps these mainstays.

Gordon cites music as among the primary reasons she recommends people come see the show. Harrod adds a couple of reasons of his own.

“Come out and support your school and see a different take on the movie,” he says.

How to attend

Where: Lake Oswego High School auditorium, 2501 Country Club Drive

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 13, 15, 20 and 22; and 2 p.m. Nov. 15 and 22

Cost: Tickets are $12 for general admission, $8 for students and seniors, $5 for children 5 and younger; purchased tickets in advance at eticketexpress.com.

Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - MacKenna Gordon (Ariel) practices her vocals with her co-star Nick Harrod (Ren) at her side.

By Jillian Daley
503-636-1281, ext. 109
email: jdaley@lakeoswegoreview.com
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