The small band at the front of the stage at Woodrow Wilson High School is decked out in flannel shirts, cowboy hats and washed-out jeans, circa 1984. The room has an undeniable laid-back feeling that hints at immense fun to be had while cutting "Footloose."

Dean Pitchford's and Walter Bobbie's charming look at the much-needed stirring up of a small God-fearing town by a big city boy sets the stage for the romantic tale that ensues.

Ren McCormack, played convincingly by Jonathan Feuer, comes to tiny Bomont against his will and falls in love with the minister's daughter, gets the law against dancing abolished and, most importantly, lets people know that it is no sin to be young.

Sara Curtin plays Ariel Moore, rebellious daughter of the Rev. Shaw Moore, with a commanding stage presence and soulful voice that effectively convey both strength and vulnerability. In each of her vocals, she nicely leaves the impression that she absolutely must burst into song to express her feelings.

Curtin argues with her parents, Shaw and Vi Moore, played persuasively by Julian Roberts and Lucy Witt, respectively, with teenage angst difficult to feign.

As Ren, Feuer lights up the stage with swanky dance moves and assertive acting. In the ballad, "Almost Paradise," his face and Curtin's convey a chemistry that fits the song amazingly well. Especially in the second act, Feuer truly becomes Ren, playing off his mother Ethel (Chudnie Casson) and the Rev. Moore with ease.

An outstanding ensemble rounds out "Footloose" enjoyably. As Ariel's best friend, Rusty, the amusing and talented Michelle Davis delivers an effortless voice, enriching her every song, whether as soloist or part of a backup trio. As Ariel's tattooed Axl-Rose-like boyfriend, Chuck Cranston, Alex Baumel is greasy in a funny way.

Gabby Baker attacks the role of Ren's simple dancing prote{acute}ge{acute}, Willard, with comedic expertise, brightening the stage with his smile and superb command of slapstick choreography. One highlight of the performance is the electrifying dance-off between Willard and Cowboy Bob, played by the exceptional Michael Virgo, in "Let's Hear It for the Boy."

Despite a few sound and spotlight problems, the technical aspects of "Footloose" are generally successful, and the quick scene changes keep the pace moving.

Woodrow Wilson's abundance of musical theatre talent makes this production of "Footloose" more than "Almost Paradise."

Emily Russell

St. Stephen's and St. Agnes

Jonathan Feuer plays Ren McCormack, a transplanted city boy who shakes up a conservative rural town.