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Monday, August 28, 2017


(The cast of "Footloose". Photo by Val Adamson)

Directed for the first time by Daisy Spencer, the 17th annual Young Performers Production for this year is a reprise of Footloose which comes to the UKZN Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from September 8 to 17, 2017.

Footloose tells the story of a tenacious and rebellious city teenager, Ren (played by Joshua Milne), who moves to a small town where rock music and dancing have been banned by the conservative Rev Shaw Moore (played by Arnie Field) and his wife (Sarah Heron) and the town council. Ren leads the young people of the town, including Rev Moore’s rebellious daughter Ariel (Leah Mari), in a protest against the town’s banning of the annual dance.

The stage adaptation of Footloose is by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie based on the original screenplay by Dean Pitchford with music by Tom Snow and lyrics by Dean Pitchford and additional music by Eric Carmen, Sammy Hagar, Kenny Logins and Jim Steinman.

Footloose has had two incarnations as a feature film: in 1984 a youthful Kevin Bacon was Ren playing against John Lithgow’s Rev Shaw Moore. Also in the cast were Lori Singer, Sarah Jessica Parker and Diane Wiest. The film was remade in 2011 and featured Kenny Wormald as Ren and Dennis Quaid as the Reverend. Also in the remake were Julianne Hough and Andie MacDowell.

Footloose, the Musical was adapted for the stage from the film, and premiered in 1998 and became a Broadway and West End hit. It has been staged successfully globally since then. Footloose boasts some now-iconic musical numbers: the theme song, Footloose, which became a hit for Kenny Loggins; Holding out for a Hero, which was recorded by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler for the first film; and Let’s Hear it for the Boy which became a number one song for singer Denise Williams. Other songs from the musical include On Any Sunday; The Girl Gets Around, Somebody’s Eyes, Heaven Help me and Learning to be Silent.

The 2017 Young Performers Project sees Daisy Spencer as both the director and choreographer working together with co-choreographer Jarryd Watson and Des Govender as vocal coach, Dawn Selby is MD, with live music from The Reals. Production supervisor is Themi Venturas.

“We are delighted to be reviving such a topical story as Footloose. When it was staged in 2014 we had a short run, and many performances were sold out, and we had a sense that people wanted more – so we are doing it again – staging it in a slightly different more contemporary way with the addition of Jarryd’s new choreographic ideas, new leads and a mostly new cast,” said Venturas.

The project ensures that the learners get a taste of working in the professional musical theatre arena. The cast of 25 were chosen at auditions – including learners travelling from the Skhethuxolo High School in Hammarsdale. Rehearsals are in full swing, with the cast meeting every weekend until the opening night. The project promotes discipline, develops confidence, and gives an opportunity to make life-long friendships, and to learn a huge amount from the professionals.

The producers are grateful to RCL Foods through their Do More Foundation, Black Coffee, Snazzi Events and UKZN’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.

Previous YPP productions have been: Curtain Up; One Voice; Grease; Oliver; Fiddler on the Roof; The Wiz; Annie; School of Rock, SA; Big River; Hairspray; Seussical; Legally Blonde, Can You Feel It?; Footloose; Soldiers in the City and last year, Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story.

Footloose the Musical runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on UKZN campus from September 7 to 18 with shows from Tuesday to Saturday at 19h00 and Saturdays and Sundays at 14h30.

Over the years the show has grown to be very popular with Durban audiences so early booking is recommended. Booking is through Computicket outlets at Shoprite Checkers, by phone on 0861 915 8000 or online at

Footloose the Musical is presented by arrangement with DALRO.