Sunday, August 14, 2016


BDT Stage’s exhilarating production of “Footloose” is the perfect antidote to the election year blues!

Based upon the movie that starred Kevin Bacon, this musical tells the story of Ren and his mother ‘s  move from the big city to a small town in which dancing is forbidden. And as in any small town “Somebody’s Eyes are Watching You” at all times.
So it seems that a few years prior to our story the local pastor’s son and three other youths were killed in an auto crash after a party. The result? A law was enacted to keep kids from dancing and therefore safe from alcohol, drugs and …death. So it’s up to Ren to overturn this crazy law and lead his fellow classmates to the return of freedom and fun. Ultimately it’s all about bridging the generation gap and healing the emotional wounds of the past.

Jean-Luc Cavner (Photo Credit: Glenn Ross)

      Jean Luc-Cavner is an adorably amped up version of Ren. Seles VanHuss is an eye-popping Ariel. The chemistry between these two reaches its zenith in their ear-pleasing duet, “Almost Paradise.”
      Framed in a cadre of veteran stars, director Matthew D. Peters introduces us to an ensemble of youthful actors that I predict will soon be the new stars of the BDT Stage family as well as the mainstays of the musical theatre acting community in the region. Are they there yet? No. Not quite. All it takes is persistence though.
     Brian Burron’s performance in the role of the pastor is of special note. In most productions the scenes involving this character’s interaction with the young people of the story are the ones that make a critic want to tear his hair out. Burron changes that energy completely and actually manages to communicate a thoughtful humanity in this rather slimly written, almost cardboard character. His final speech, which usually leaves playgoers feeling empty, brought tears. That he can bring us to catharsis with the final speech/sermon is testament to Burron’s incredible acting prowess.

       Seles VanHuss ( Photo credit: Glenn Ross)
Alicia King’s studied portrayal of the pastor’s wife is a pleasure. “Learning to Be Silent,” Ms. King’s duet with Joannie Brosseau (Ren’s mother), is breathtaking.
     As Cowboy Bob, Scott Severtson give us a lively shit-kickin’ country western number that sets the stage for Act Two. ( You will remember Severtson for his outstanding performance as Lord Farquahr in BDT Stage’s “Shrek, the Musical.”)
Transitioning from bashful farmboy to Rusty’s super confident boyfriend, Alejandro Roldan’s performance as Willard is exceptional.
     You will remember Mr. Roldan for his outstanding portrayal of Ritchie Valens in BDT Stage’s production of “Buddy, the Buddy Holly Story.” Here his performance of the hit, “Mama Says You Can’t Back Down” is a knockout!

     Satya Jnani Chavez plays Rusty, the girl in love with Willard. Keep your eyes on this actor! An unstoppable whirlwind of talent, Chavez cuts loose with “Let’s Hear it for the Boy,” giving us one of the most memorable highlights of the evening. It is to be hoped that we see LOTS more of Ms. Chavez in future productions.

     Rae Leigh Case flies through her exhilarating performance of the aerial choreography with astounding ease. Elsewhere Ms. Case provides an injection of adrenalin into the already high voltage dance scene choreographed by Director Peters.
       Amy Campion’s expert creation of scenic design for Footloose allows a railway trestle to frame the stage allowing for the arrival of a church, country western bar, minister’s kitchen, a malt shop and a school gymnasium in the space below.
     Wayne Kennedy does his usual professional work giving us speeding trains and skidding cars in his very fine sound design.
     Besides transitioning the play’s moods with subtle shifts of lighting, Brett Maughan creates terrific atmospheric fx with bursts of light illuminating stage fog at key moments. 
     Neal Dunfee and his outstanding BDT Stage orchestra rocks out dynamically!
     And in case you haven’t heard there’s a great new chef at BDT Stage dinner theatre. So remember you can also treat your taste buds to the sensational- now better than ever!- prime rib topped by garlic butter! The new take on the salad with its in-house dressing was a palate pleaser, too. How does it get any better than that?Marlowe's Musings

Boulder’s Dinner Theater is located at 5501 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder, Colorado.

For tickets call 303-449-6000 or go online at

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