PICKWICK PLAYERS MOVE TO CARLTON OAKS SCHOOL: REVIEW OF ‘FOOTLOOSE’: THE MUSICAL INAUGURAL PRODUCTION

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By Kathy Carpenter, Reviewer

Photos by Adriana Zuniga-Williams

March 23, 2019 (Santee) - Did I do the right thing? That's a question posed by Reverend Shaw to his congregation during Footloose. I know I did the right thing when I decided to go out for this show. Pickwick Players provides quality entertainment to East County. Footloose was no exception. 

One thing I love about Pickwick Players is that the group reflects the ultimate in community theatre. It includes everyday people of all ages. Everyone is welcomed. With that in mind, you may not expect the level of talent they bring to the table. However, as with this large cast, many are seasoned performers letting their essence shine.

Footloose is a story of being trapped, stuck. Ren, the hero, and his mom are forced to move to a small town where Ren has trouble fitting in.  Ariel, his interest, is restricted by her dad, trapped. Her dad, Reverend Shaw is stuck in the past due to losing his son.

Kirsten Giard Branch directed the play, but also designed the set, an excellent job of boarded windows and doors that did not open. A metaphor for being trapped.

The huge cast was a village coming together to create a show both I and the audience enjoyed immensely. I think of Footloose as a dance show. I guess because it's about dancing. But there are really only a few dance numbers. Hi-octane numbers at the beginning and end are choreographed by Claudia Dyson-Hightower and a couple of others during the show. Michael Anthony was musical director. 

Edgardo Hernadez played Ren, bringing the charm. Kylee Ogzewalla played the feisty Ariel. My favorite in this show with the strongest voice, Zoee Bauer, as Rusty. Reverend Shaw was played by Bradley Moon, the villain of the piece. Tara Beth Palmer gave a strong performance as Vi, the Reverend's wife. One more mention: Ryan Fagan as Willard, Ren's friend, an audience favorite.

I did not realize this musical has four hits for all of who remember the eighties: "Footloose," "Holding Out For A Hero," "Let's Hear It For The Boy," and "Almost Paradies," A beautiful duet in this rendition showcasing the chemistry between Hernadez and Ogzewalla.

Unfortunately, this show has closed after a successful opening in this new location at Carlton Oaks School.  The venue is a  bit larger and I feel opening up to a whole new group of viewers on the opposite side of Santee. Keeping the Caberet type seats as Off Broadway, with tables of four with folding chairs. Pickwick is now in the process of fundraising for new chairs. If you want to donate, call 619.448.5673.

It's time for you to do the right thing and come out to enjoy a show soon. 

The next show will be an all youth production of Disney's Aladdin April 26 - May 12, 2019, followed by Treasure Island.

Carlton Oaks School

Box Office 619.448.5673