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The Theatre Links pages provide links to Theatre resources on the net, which either provide information on the UK theatre scene in general or which include information about Lyn Paul and the musicals in which she has appeared (Blood Brothers, Footloose and Taboo).
Footloose was first a hit film, then a musical. Both tell the story of Ren McCormack, a teenager from Chicago who moves with his mother to the small town of Bomont, where the local killjoys led by their preacher, Reverend Shaw Moore, have imposed a ban on rock music and dancing. The film was released in the USA on 17th February 1984 and in the UK on 13th April. It starred Kevin Bacon as Ren, John Lithgow as Reverend Moore, Diane Wiest as his wife Vi and Lori Singer as their daughter Ariel. The cast also featured Sarah Jessica Parker as Rusty.
The 1984 film soundtrack of Footloose was a number 1 hit in the USA. The nine-track album included four hit singles: Footloose, a number 1 hit in the USA for Kenny Loggins; Let's Hear It For The Boy, a US number 1 for Deniece Williams; Holding Out For A Hero, a US Top 40 hit and UK number 2 for Bonnie Tyler; and Almost Paradise, a US Top 10 hit for Mike Reno and Ann Wilson. Lyricist Dean Pitchford co-wrote all of the songs on the soundtrack. He worked in partnership with a variety of songwriters, among them Eric Carmen (Almost Paradise), Kenny Loggins (Footloose), Sammy Hagar (The Girl Gets Around) and Jim Steinman (Holding Out For A Hero). Two of the songs (Let's Hear It For The Boy and Somebody's Eyes) were written with Tom Snow, who Pitchford later teamed up with to write the rest of the songs for Footloose The Musical.
Footloose was first staged as a musical in 1998 at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. It opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on 5th October 1998 and the following year went on a successful tour of the US. The Broadway production ran until 2nd July 2000.
Footloose The Musical arrived in the UK in 2004, embarking on a national tour that travelled to major theatres up and down the country, including the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham and the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton.
In April 2005 the show went through a partial re-write. The order of the songs in the second half was changed. Two songs were taken out - Let's Make Believe We're In Love and I Confess - and a new song added - Still Rockin'. The first Act now opened with the girls (Jo, Rusty, Urleen and Wendy) singing Footloose instead of the boys, while the song Learning To Be Silent, originally a duet between the two mothers Ethel and Vi, became a three-part harmony with Ariel.
A second UK tour followed in 2006, starring the Emmerdale actor Stephen McGann as Reverend Moore and Bucks Fizz singer Cheryl Baker as Vi. It kicked off at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff (Friday, 6th - Saturday, 14th January) and ended up at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth (Monday, 20th - Saturday, 25th March).
The production then transferred to London's West End, opening at the Novello Theatre on the Strand on Tuesday, 18th April 2006, following previews from Saturday, 8th April. After a seven-month run, the production closed on Saturday, 11th November 2006. The West End production originally starred Derek Hough as Ren, Stephen McGann as Reverend Moore, Cheryl Baker as Vi and Lorna Want as Ariel. Amy Pemberton replaced Lorna Want on 1st May and continued until the end of the run. David Essex joined the cast as Reverend Moore for three months in the Summer (10th June - 10th September) with Michael Howe taking over the role for the last two months.
Two of the principal members of the West End cast (Johnny Shentall as Chuck Cranston and Giovanni Spaño as Willard Hewitt) stayed on for the 2007 UK tour. They were joined by Tommy Sherlock as Ren, Julian Agnew as Reverend Moore, Lyn Paul as Vi and Miria Parvin as Ariel. Following the tour Footloose returned to the West End for a second run, this time at the Playhouse Theatre. The cast remained largely unchanged from the UK tour, with Lyn Paul continuing as Vi Moore until the show closed on 1st December.
"The strengths are in the performance. We have a Ren (Derek Hough) and an Ariel (Miria Parvin) of exceptional quality, and they are supported by a cast whose energy, drive, athleticism and sheer dance talent are extraordinary. Giovanni Spano, playing Ren's friend Willard, has a great comic sense whilst Julian Agnew (Rev Moore) and Lyn Paul (Vi Moore) manage to bring more to their characters than the text would suggest. I have to say, too, that Nikki Belsher (Ren's mother) did the seemingly impossible - she made the character both believable and sympathetic."
Footloose Reviewed at the Lowry, Salford by Glenn Meads
"Of the cast, Sherlock is the best Ren I have seen on tour as he dances as well as he sings. Parvin is also delightful as the wayward love interest. Lyn Paul is a wonderful singer although she doesnt even try to be American. Julian Agnew plays her earnest husband and does well with an underwritten role. Giovanni Spanos Willard plays for laughs and wins over the audience, constantly, while Gemma O' Duffys vibrant Lets Hear It For The Boy is worth paying for on its own ..."