- December 10, 2020
West Orange residents still have the opportunity to catch one of the five remaining shows of St. Luke United Methodist Church’s theater production of Footloose: the Musical.
The show, which is the church’s 7th annual summer musical, opened on Friday, Aug. 3, and is based on the 1984 film of the same name starring Kevin Bacon as Ren McCormack.
The story revolves around Ren McCormack, played by Spencer Morrow and his mother, Ethel McCormack, played by Stephanie Adams, who leave Chicago to relocate to the small town of Bomont, Texas. But the mother and son quickly realize how different life in Bomont is from the city life to which they’re accustomed, particularly as the town has banned dancing.
However, with the help of his newfound friends Ariel Moore and Willard Hewitt, played by Andrea and Rob Stack, Ren takes on both the reverend and the town council, revealing the town’s unhealed wounds.
The show was directed by Boston-native Steve MacKinnon who’s served as the St. Luke’s theatre and contemporary music director since 2008.
“This story, I think, is really relevant in our society right now because it's about youth coming together and finding their voice and fighting the system to make a change in the world,” MacKinnon said. “And it's also about the damage a church can cause in a community – the hurt and pain they might cause either knowingly or unknowingly. So I think we, as a church, are willing to say, yes, we know that a church might hurt people and we know sometimes people might use the Bible as a weapon. And that's exactly what happens in Footloose, so we're combining all that and talking about things that are relevant right now locally and in our country.”
St. Luke’s lead pastor, Jennifer Stiles Williams, said the musical, which is made possible by local community and church members, was selected because of its themes and their relation to the church’s own goals.
“It's an amazing show,” she said. “I help pick the musicals, and we choose them based on who we are as a church and the best way to share our core values of acceptance and hospitality. And we also try to choose something that speaks to the community and the world ... and it gives us an opportunity to kind of kick off our Sunday shoes, that are sometimes a little too tight-fitting, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually.”