'Been workin so hard'

Tom Batters
Sarah Martin, left, and Lindsey Wille rehearse the song ‘Somebody’s Eyes’ from ‘Footloose’ last week. The MTHS spring musical opens March 24.

It is two weeks before opening night, and Kathy McCormick is a little frantic.

Four students raise their hands and look like they have a burning question to ask. Another one says, “Mrs. McCormick?” as she climbs onto the stage to hit the play button on the CD player.

“Whoever just Mrs. McCormick’d me, please wait just a minute,” she says in a friendly, but purposeful tone. “I just want to get through this one song. We need to get it tonight, even if we spend a whole hour and a half on it.”

McCormick is the director of the Metamora Township High School spring musical, ‘‘Footloose,” which opens March 24.

She said she is confident that everything will come together before opening night, but, until then, there is a lot of work to do.

“This is a challenging musical. The music is difficult. A lot of the songs are very high,” she said.

“And, unlike a classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that has set scene breaks, the scenes roll right into each other in this one. So, it’s been challenging, to say the least.”

Jacob Powers, who has never performed in a musical before, and Elizabeth Hable, who has performed in musicals for the last three years, play the two lead roles (Ren and Ariel) that were made famous by Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer in the 1984 film.

“Ariel has been a lot of fun to play,” Hable said.

“She is both innocent and a total rebel. She has a lot of energy and she has fun.”

Rehearsal started in January and Hable said she has tried to stay in character as much as possible over the past three months.

“My mom and dad go over lines with me at home, she said.

“And, I’ll try to be Ariel at home. If my mom or dad ask me something, I’ll answer like Ariel would answer.”

Hable said the rest of the cast, which includes more than 60 students, is “very talented.”

Powers performed in Madrigals, but this is his first attempt at a stage performance.

“I’m a little nervous, but it’s been going pretty well,” he said.

“We’re really starting to get it.”

Powers said he enjoys playing Ren because “all he wants to do is dance, but nobody will let him dance.”

The story centers around Ren, a big city kid who moves to a small town and quickly learns that his rebel ways will not sit well with the ultra conservative townspeople, led by the righteous Reverend Shaw Moore.

To complicate matters, he falls for the reverend’s daughter, Ariel, who has a rebellious side of her own.

Ren and Ariel conspire to organize a dance, even though dancing is strictly forbidden in town.

“This is a much more contemporary musical,” McCormick said.

“It is fun for the students because I think they can relate to it a little more.”

The music features upbeat hits such as “I’m Free,” and “The Girl Gets Around,” and more mellow ballads such as “Almost Paradise.”

Other performers include Thomas Deters as Reverend Shaw Moore, Sarah Martin as Rusty, Lindsey Wille as Urleen, Kaitlyn Knoblauch as Wendy Jo and Sam Ryan as Willard.