Featuring a cast of nearly 60, showcasing some of the top talent in the local area, Centreville Presbyterian Church presents "Footloose, The Musical."
Showtimes are Thursday-Friday, Feb. 28-29, at 8 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday, March 1-2, at both 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 via www.centrevillepres.com or at the church office, 15450 Lee Highway, Centreville, weekdays, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
THE SEASONED performers include theater students from Westfield, Centreville and Chantilly high schools, dancers from Encore Theatrical Arts Project and actors from The Alliance Theatre. Westfield theater teacher/director Zoe Dillard is directing, and Anne Ermlick — who sang and danced in eight, professional shows in New York — is the choreographer.
"That's one of the joys," said Dillard. "It's really nice to have so many different parts of the community participating. It's very challenging — I'd put it right up there with 'West Side Story' in degree of difficulty — but the talent is so strong. And it's a great script with great music and dancing."
They've been rehearsing since September and, although some of the mature themes make this a "PG" show, Dillard says audiences will find it inspiring.
"The themes are hope, grace and meaningful relationships, and finding — even in the face of great loss — ways to appreciate the present," she said. "The play also encourages people to look forward, instead of constantly focusing on the past. And I think it'll make a positive contribution and be meaningful to people in their personal life journeys, as well."
The double-cast show is about Ren McCormack, a Chicago teen who moves to a small, Texas town where a minister whose son has died has banned rock music and dancing. But Ren vows to change things.
WESTFIELD SENIOR Nick Cirillo and Centreville junior Neema Atri share the role of Ren. Playing Ren's love interest, Ariel — the minister's daughter — are Centreville senior Heidi Ermlick and Westfield junior Taylin Frame.
Portraying Ariel's mother and father are Centreville's Susie Pike and Jim Mitchell. Normally in musical comedies, this time Mitchell plays a serious and complex character.
"He's an incredibly unhappy, tortured soul who controls his entire town and inflicts his pain on the whole community," explained Mitchell. "But he's not a villain; he's the antagonist who hasn't yet come to terms with his son's death."
But, said Mitchell, "He has a huge epiphany at the end of the show and realizes he has to let go of his grief and allow the community to return to normal. So besides reaching teens, this show will touch anybody who's a parent."
Added Frame: "Everyone will leave the show happy, and kids will be singing the songs on the way out."