Teacher: MCHS musical a new experience for actors, singers, musicians | CraigDailyPress.com

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Teacher: MCHS musical a new experience for actors, singers, musicians

Moffat County High School sophomores Dallen Gillett, left, and Caitlin Harjes examine 1980s-style outfits that may be used in the MCHS fall musical, “Footloose,” which is scheduled for November. Gillett and Harjes are cast as Willard Hewitt and Molly Lou, respectively. The performance will be “a lot more strenuous than last year,” Harjes said, but “it’s going to be fun.”

If you go …

What: 2011 Moffat County High School fall musical, “Footloose”

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 17 and 18, 2 and 7 p.m. Nov. 19

Where: MCHS auditorium, 900 Finley Lane

Cost: Ticket prices to be determined

— The cast includes MCHS students and adult musicians from the community.

Heather Dahlberg, a Moffat County High School theater and choir teacher, decided on something different this year.

Instead of practicing numbers like "Do-Re-Mi" and "The Surrey With Fringe on Top," her students are learning songs with titles like "Let's Hear It For the Boy" and, of course, "Footloose."

That's the title of the musical, after all, a stage adaptation of the 1984 film with the same name.

Performances are set for Nov. 17, 18 and 19 at the MCHS auditorium, 900 Finley Lane. The musical shows at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 and 18, and Nov. 19 features a 2 p.m. matinee and another 7 p.m. performance.

Ticket prices have yet to be set.

This kind of rock musical is a new experience for student musicians, singers and actors alike, Dahlberg said.

And, that's the point.

"What I wanted to do was to bring in a contemporary musical that hadn't been done here yet," she added.

Last year's production, which was chosen by Dahlberg's predecessor, was "your traditional musical," Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music," said Dahlberg, a second-year teacher at the high school.

The music in that production is in the vein of more traditional music theater, whereas Kenny Loggins, a popular singer of the 1980s, wrote much of the music for "Footloose," she said.

"Now they're doing a musical that was written by a pop star," she said, instead of more traditional composers.

This year's cast includes both student performers and adult musicians from the community, Dahlberg said.

Dahlberg is familiar with "Footloose" — she performed in it during a 2006 production in North Carolina, she said.

So, when she says it's a demanding musical, she knows what she's talking about. It's heavy on acting, dancing and singing, she said.

"It really requires your students to take all three quite seriously," she said.

Which means her student cast has a lot of work ahead of them.

"I'll be working them hard," Dahlberg said.

One of the cast members is Mitch Romney, a 16-year-old MCHS junior from Hamilton.

In one way or another, Romney has been involved in every MCHS musical since he was in seventh grade, he said, starting with playing percussion in the pit orchestra for "Oklahoma!"

But, this year, he'll have his first big role.

He plays lead character Ren McCormack, who spearheads an effort to set up a dance in a small town where dancing is banned.

"He is a character that likes to have fun, and I'm that way, too," Romney said. "I like to sing and dance and goof around."

Is he nervous about being in the spotlight?

Not really, he said.

"I'm really excited to dance," he said, laughing. "I love to dance. It's my favorite."

Despite its difficulty, there are many reasons for students to enjoy "Footloose," Dahlberg said.

"It's fun," she said. "It's upbeat. It's contemporary."

And, it's especially pertinent now. A remake of the film is set to debut this year, featuring Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough and Dennis Quaid.

If this year's production a break from traditional musicals, that may be a good thing for performers and audience alike.

"Part of doing the musical here … is to entertain our audiences in Craig that are really loyal, but also it's to educate our students on different types of musical stylings," she said.

"It also gives the audiences a new experience."

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