'Footloose' Comes To Community Center Stage
Vienna Youth Players make dancing focus of this year's summer production
As the Vienna Youth Players prepared for another summer show, Babs Dyer had an unusual offer at her hands: Four students returning to the group had stepped forward eager to lead choreography in the production, giving Dyer a rare opportunity to pursue a musical that showcases dancing.
"I uniquely had four choreographers step forward ... I thought, 'I can finally do a dance-heavy show," Dyer said.
This weekend, the group's annual production will transform the Vienna Community Center stage into a 1980s dance hall for the final run of "Footloose," this year's VYP production.
The shows mark the end of this season's five-show run, put on by 38 local teens who have been rehearsing, choreographing and building sets since early June.
For the past 19 years, Babs Dyer has led VYP, a group that brings together actors, singers, dancers, designers and tech masters ages 10 to 20 from Vienna, Oakton and McLean each year for a summer production.
This year, about 40 percent of cast members are alumni of past productions; 60 percent are 'newbies' to the group, Dyer said.
"Footloose" tells the story of a teen named Ren, who moves from the city of Chicago to a small, rural farming town that has banned dancing and rock 'n' roll. It follows the boy as he adjusts to a new high school, quickly earning a reputation as a rebel for his efforts to shake up the town's rigid rules.
Dyer said the show, which sold out last weekend, has been a hit because there are "lots of children of the '80s out there, and the music is so peppy," but also because "there are so many really wonderful kids, and I think our community ... really has always supported youth theater."
Dyer, a Vienna native, said there was no youth theater when she was growing up in town, so "it was really nice as an adult to come back into it."
"We're very fortunate to be in Vienna," Dyer said. "Vienna has that little hometown feel and anything the kids do they're just going to show up for."
While Dyer has worked with several casts since the group formed in 1993, the way this year's group has come together as a group of colleagues and friends is particularly striking, she said.
"It's pretty amazing that they don't come from one place — they don't all come from Oakton or Madison or Marshall; they just get into that theater and all the sudden they're best friends with people they never knew before. They absolutely have gotten along so beautifully on and off the stage," Dyer said. "They've had slumber parties ... and my oldest kids are such great models for the younger [teens]."
VYP will perform "Footloose" at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a final showing at 1 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12 for students and seniors and $14 for adults.
|Character Name||Actor's Name||Age|
|Ren McCormack||Daxx Wieser||18|
|Ethel McCormack||Amanda Pepper||20|
|Reverend Shaw Moore||Brian Ammer||17|
|Vi Moore||Alex Nicopoulos||17|
|Ariel Moore||Morgan Miller||17|
|Lulu Warnicker||Selena Garcia DuBar||19|
|Wes Warnicker||Chris Becker||15|
|Coach Roger Dunbar||Joshua Willis-Jones||16|
|Eleanor Dunbar||Camille Testa||14|
|Wendy Jo||Kirby Jacobs||16|
|Chuck Cranston||Andrew Cressman||16|
|Betty Blast||Annie Cowman||14|
|Willard Hewitt||Derek Yost||16|
|Principal Henrietta Clark||Mairin Haley||18|
|Sarah Sue||Sarah Chapin||17|
|Cowboy Bob||Stuart Orloff||14|
|Cowboy Billy Bob||Nicky Cressman||14|
|Cop/Cowboy Billy Bob Joe||Sam Ressin||14|