MSA's 'Footloose' opens FridayMinnesota Math and Science Academy's spring musical "Footloose" opens Friday at the Maplewood Performing Arts Center.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Minnesota Math and Science Academy will be helping “everyone cut footloose” this weekend.
“Footloose,” the school’s spring musical, opens Friday, June 1, and runs through June 9.
Based on the 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon, “Footloose” tells the story of Ren, a teenager from Chicago who moves to a small farming town.
Even though Ren is prepared for the inevitable adjustment period at his new high school, he isn’t prepared for the rigorous local edicts, including a ban on dancing instituted by the local preacher.
When the reverend's rebellious daughter sets her sights on Ren, her roughneck boyfriend tries to sabotage Ren's reputation, with many of the locals eager to believe the worst about the new kid.
Eventually, Ren takes it upon himself to fight for his right to dance.
“The show isn’t just the dancing,” said Rob Sutherland, the show’s director, “it’s a bigger picture here.
“I love the idea of showing kids, especially nowadays, that if you believe in something you don’t have to throw fits to get what you want – that’s a great message for kids to see.”
Collaboration in theater
Through the collaboration, MSA is able to use the props, costumes and set of whatever show Ashland Productions puts on in the spring.
“Now we’re adapting it and remounting it,” Sutherland said. “We don’t want to be compared to the other – we’re trying to make it our own.”
MSA’s partnership with Ashland Productions developed several years ago when the school’s theater director took a different job.
One of MSA’s parents who was involved with Ashland Productions approached the organization about developing a partnership.
“It felt like a natural fit to see if we could help fill that void,” Sutherland said.
Sutherland said the collaboration between MSA and Ashland Productions has been beneficial to both parties since it gives MSA a performance space and the use of props and costumes; the collaboration also benefits Ashland Productions by bringing more people to the theater.
“The great thing is it allows for that partnership to benefit both groups,” he said. “I would love to see more of that collaboration.”
For MSA’s production, Sutherland said some of the challenges of the show have been translating adult characters to students.
“Translating to high school students can be a challenge,” Sutherland said. “The complexity of the role is pretty challenging.
“We have an eighth grader trying to portray an adult woman who has a daughter who is older than she actually is in real life, but the students have been doing a wonderful job.”
Sutherland said he is optimistic about “Footloose” being a success.
“We’ve pushed these kids really hard, we’ve tried to be honest and real with them, and all that is going to step up their performance,” he said. “I think the audience is going to be blown away.”
Minnesota Math and Science Academy’s production of “Footloose” will be June 1-2 and June 8-9 at 7:30 p.m. and June 3 at 2 p.m. at the Maplewood Performing Arts Center, 2100 White Bear Ave., Maplewood. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.ashlandproductions.org or by calling the theater at 651-274-8020. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.