May 9 – 13, 2023
Asper Centre for Theatre & Film
Stage Adaption by DEAN PITCHFORD and WALTER BOBBIE
Based on the Original Screenplay by Dean Pitchford
Music by TOM SNOW
Lyrics by DEAN PITCHFORD
Additional music by ERIC CARMEN, SAMMY HAGAR, KENNY LOGGINS and JIM STEINMAN
The Winnipeg Youth Chorus acknowledges that we are gathered on ancestral lands, treaty 1 territory, traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples and on the National Homeland of the Red River Métis people. We respect the spirit and intent of Treaties and Treaty Making and remain committed to working in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in the spirit of truth, reconciliation, and collaboration.
THE VIDEOTAPING OR MAKING OF ELECTRONIC OR OTHER AUDIO AND/OR VISUAL RECORDINGS OF THIS PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTING RECORDINGS OR STREAMS IN ANY MEDIUM, INCLUDING THE INTERNET, IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED, A VIOLATION OF THE AUTHOR(S)’S RIGHTS, AND ACTIONABLE UNDER UNITED STATES COPYRIGHT LAW.
Artistic Director/Producer – Lisa Rempel
Music Director – Garth Rempel
Choreographer – Katherine Ybanez
Stage Manager – Melanie Spulnick
Assistant Stage Manager – Chelsea Hertzog
Accompanist/Assistant Music Director – Katie Erickson
Lighting Director (and advisor in many other areas during rehearsals!) – Jorrel Camuyong
Set & Costume Design – Lisa Rempel
Sound – Skunk Sound
Lighting – Asper Theatre Staff
Message from the Artistic Director
Back in 2011, when Garth and I resurrected the Winnipeg Youth Chorus, one of the first questions we received was ‘when are you going to do a musical’? Eight years later in 2019, we were blessed with an amazing group of young people and managed to pull off a great production of Seussical the Musical. We had grand plans to do another musical just a few years later, but then COVID hit, and we had to put our plans on hold.
Now, in our twelfth year and with several repeat performers (some looking quite different this time), we are back! Footloose is a dynamic and engaging story which explores many real issues facing a small town in a rural setting; grief, loss, community, friendship, the intersection of political and personal agendas, individual agency within a system, and standing up for one’s beliefs. The story provides meaningful and impacting opportunities to consider these social and cultural issues that remain relevant in our current time.
The WYC family accepts people for who they are and is a safe place for our singers to be themselves. I think I speak for our entire music team when I say that we can’t think of a better way to spend our Wednesdays (and somethimes more…) watching these young people try to figure out who they are as individuals, and to also help support each other figure it out; all without judgement. It truly is a sight to behold and makes my heart full. Music and community have that effect on people.
In 1984, when I was doing the publicity tour for the release of the original motion picture Footloose – for which I had written the screenplay and the lyrics to all the original songs – I would often find myself being interviewed by a journalist or an entertainment reporter who would describe it as ‘that movie about the town where dancing is against the law.’
‘Not exactly,’ I would gently correct them. ‘Footloose is actually the story of a man who’s lost his son, a boy who’s lost his father, and how those two help each other to heal.’
What makes a story live on in our consciousness is the characters we meet along the way. We remember how they changed each other.
And – when we’re lucky – how they changed us.
A decade later, when I set about adapting my original screenplay for the stage, I met with a number of producers and directors who pitched me with ideas of blowing up the property into a theatrical extravaganza. ‘After all,’ they’d insist, ‘you’ve got all those hit songs! All that irresistible energy!’ The show, they felt, should be re-tooled to be performed at outdoor arenas…or on rock ‘n’ roll stages… with big-screen projections! Dozens of dancers! And fireworks!
I listened to their ideas, but something about the sheer SIZE of everything they proposed unnerved me.
Then I met with director Walter Bobbie, who had just won the Best Director Tony Award for his revival of Chicago. Walter asked me with whom I had met and what kinds of ideas they had proposed. And after I finished my report, Walter leaned in and spoke very quietly.
‘Dean,’ he said, ‘you must remember, at the heart of Footloose, you have written characters who are struggling with deep loss. If you tell that story correctly, you can scale your show up or down to fit any-sized venue. But telling the story of those people and their journey – in my opinion – should be your one, guiding principle.’
And in that moment, I realized that Walter was repeating back to me the mantra that I had shared with those reporters and journalists ten years earlier. The overwhelming international success – not only of the film but also of the soundtrack and all those songs – had obscured the story’s modest roots.
Because Footloose is – and always has been – a human-sized story.
T – Tuesday, May 9, 2023, 7:00 PM
W – Wednesday, May 10, 2023, 7:00 PM
R – Thursday, May 11, 2023, 7:00 PM
F-MAT – Friday, May 12, 2023, 11:30 AM
F-EVE – Friday, May 12, 2023, 7:00 PM
S-MAT – Saturday, May 13, 2023, 1:00 PM
S-EVE – Saturday, May 13, 2023, 5:30 PM
Hudson Thiessen as Ren McCormick (T, W, F-MAT, F-EVE, S-MAT, S-EVE)
Danylo Kruk as Ren McCormack – (R)
Ren McCormick is a joker who enjoys a good time. Lately, though, his fun-loving attitude has taken on a tone of desperation, as he tries too hard to convince the world – and himself – that his father’s desertion hasn’t wounded him as deeply as it has.
Anah Rempel as Ariel Moore –(T, W, F-MAT, F-EVE, S-MAT, S-EVE)
Renelle Thiessen as Ariel Moore – (R)
Ariel Moore is smart; she understands the rules of the different worlds she moves between, and, in each situation, she plays her part brilliantly. When she is in her father’s presence, for instance, she is buttoned-up and demure; with Chuck, she burns off all her unexpressed, explosive energy with raucous, thrill-seeking behaviour.
Brandon Spulnick as Reverend Shaw Moore –(T, W, R, F-MAT, S-MAT, S-EVE)
Kiernan Beinert as Reverend Shaw Moore – (F-EVE)
Reverend Shaw Moore is charismatic. Charming even. Shaw has a quick mind, a loving heart and a sense of humour, all of which endear him to his congregation. While trying to be strong for so many people, however, he continues to mourn the death of his son – the one person he could not save.
Katie Wright as Vi Moore – (T, W, F-EVE, S-EVE)
Rebecca Pratt as Vi Moore – (R, F-MAT, S-MAT)
Vi Moore – Despite the loss of her son and the strained relationship with her husband, Vi fully understands what kind of unflagging good humour she must display in order to keep her household – and her husband’s congregation – running smoothly.
Niamh Leonard as Rusty – (T, W, F-MAT, F-EVE, S-EVE)
Livia Jones as Rusty – (R, S-MAT)
Rusty may come off as sassy and self-assured, but, in many ways, she is the most deeply romantic character in Footloose. She truly believes that she and Willard were meant to be together, but they’re both just so inept about expressing themselves.
Kevin Rempel as Willard Hewitt – (T, W, F-EVE, S-MAT, S-EVE)
Holly Profeta as Willard Hewitt – (R, F-MAT)
Willard Hewitt is not dumb; he is a gentle soul with quick fists, which are his defense against a world that he often has trouble comprehending. Willard just hasn’t had anyone come along to puncture that macho belligerence – until Ren arrives.
Danylo Kruk as Chuck Cranston – (T, W, F-EVE, S-MAT, S-EVE)
Daniel Loughren as Chuck Cranston – (R, F-MAT)
Chuck Cranston is known as the local bad boy and is Ariel’s boyfriend when the show begins.
Emily Klassen as Ethel McCormack – (T, W, F-EVE, S-EVE)
Katie Wright as Ethel McCormack – (R, F-MAT. S-MAT)
Ethel McCormack lives in her sister’s home and abides by her brother-in-law’s rules, but she never succumbs to the pathos of her situation, after all, she has to be strong for Ren. Their mutual loss brought them closer together, and they share a teasing, good-natured relationship.
Livia Jones as Wendy Jo – (T, W, F-MAT. F-EVE, S-EVE)
Grace Spulnick as Wendy Jo – (R, S-MAT)
Renelle Thiessen as Urleen – (T, W, F-EVE, S-EVE)
Sadie Miniely as Urleen – (R, F-MAT)
Wendy Jo and Urleen are best friends with Ariel and Rusty; they would do anything for each other…even lie.
Holly Profeta & Grace Spulnick as Karaoke Bob – (T, W, S-EVE)
Kyna Burdeniuk & Sophia Cannon as Karaoke Bob – (F-MAT, F-EVE)
Kinley Acorn & Sadie Miniely as Karaoke Bob – (R, S-MAT)
Kiernan Beinert as Travis – (T, W, R, F-MAT, S-EVE)
Kyna Burdeniuk as Travis – (F-EVE, S-MAT)
Paige Conan as Lyle
Chelsea Rowan as Bickle
Daniel Loughren as Jeter – (T, W, F-EVE, S-MAT, S-EVE)
Isaac Nichol as Jeter – (R, F-MAT)
Grace Wall as Garvin
Rebecca Pratt as Lulu – (T, W, F-EVE, S-EVE)
Holly Profeta as Lulu – (R, F-MAT S-MAT)
Sadie Miniely as Wes Warnicker – (T, W, F-EVE, S-MAT, S-EVE)
Hailey Rowan as Wes Warnicker – (R, F-MAT)
Lexi Schmidt as Coach Lexi Dunbar
Kyna Burdeniuk as Eleanor Dunbar – (T, W, F-MAT, F-EVE, S-EVE)
Emily Klassen as Eleanor Dunbar – (R, S-MAT)
Jocelyn Blanco as Principal Clark
Our Music team, Production team, Stage Management team, the ‘A’ team
Ensemble of Birtle
Back Row: Brady Zaluski, Anna Wiebe, Addison Haider, Ava Rankin, Aislinn Soloway, Paige Jones, Mila Mathu, Eden Jones.
Front Row: Joanna Basanta, Diane Pu, Amelia Nichol, Lexi Sullivan, Ava Peattie, Alayah Alby, Leah Profeta, Olivia Rubiato, Julia Rushworth
Missing: Kiana Barrie, Julianne Hanson, Cadence Bults, Ari Guenther-Hoorman
Footloose* – Company
On Any Sunday – Shaw, Ren, Ethel & Company
The Girl Gets Around** – Chuck, Ariel, Travis & Lyle’s Group
I Can’t Stand Still – Ren
Somebody’s Eyes – Rusty, Urleen, Wendy Jo & Company
Learning To Be Silent – Vi, Ethel, Ariel
Holding Out for A Hero+ – Ariel & Company
Heaven Help Me – Shaw
I’m Free / Heaven Help Me – Ren, Shaw & Company
Still Rockin’ – Karaoke Bob & Company
Let’s Hear It For The Boy – Rusty & Company
Can You Find It In Your Heart? – Vi
Mama Says (You Can’t Back Down) – Willard, Bickle, Garvin, Jeter, Ren & Group
Almost Paradise++ – Ren & Ariel
Heaven Help Me – Reprise – Shaw
Can You Find It In Your Heart? – Reprise – Shaw
Footloose – Finale* – Company
All music by Tom Snow, except: *Kenny Loggins, **Sammy Hagar, +Jim Steinman, ++Eric Carmen
All lyrics by Dean Pitchford, except Footloose, lyrics by Dean Pitchford and Kenny Loggins
Special Thanks to
Our Live Band!
Keyboard I – Katie Erickson
Keyboard II – Jordan Jackiew
Guitar – Garth Rempel
Bass – Chris Berti
Reeds – Julie Husband
Drums – David Rozgonyi
Percussion – Paul Klassen
Jayden Fraser – for his assistance with blocking and helping with characterization
Dariyan Dubik – for showing up every week and helping with characterization
Set and Props
Kris Wright – grain elevator (wow!)
Shannon Wright – grafitti boxes
Holy Redeemer Church
Inn at the Forks
ACP Dental Corporation
Other Special People/Places
Brent Spulnick – a little of everything
Chelsea Hertzog – for going above and beyond
Melanie Spulnick – for going above and beyond
Jaime Profeta – t-shirt design
Taryn Edgeworth – photography
Lou & Pat van Rysselt
47 Filmworks – videography
Asper Centre for Theatre and Film