Familiar faces took the director's chair for Footloose, the 2004 production by Lakeshore Productions, Inc. Victor Schueller, one of the founders of Random Lake's summer theatre program, returned to co-direct. He shared that responsibility with Travis Knier, who had lead roles in the last two LPI shows. Amie Lousier was the music director and Katie Sasse the choreographer. Mike Underwood directed the nine-member pit orchestra.
The musical version of Footloose opened on Broadway in 1998, and it was based on the 1984 movie of the same name (one of the great teen dance movies of that era). The plot involves a city kid from Chicago named Ren McCormack. When his father abandons the family, Ren and his mother Ethel move to Bomont, Tex., where his aunt and uncle have offered some shelter. The problem: the dance loving Ren has moved to a town where dancing is outlawed, thanks to the conservative minister, Rev. Shaw Moore.
The lead role of Ren McCormack was played by Joe Horstmeier, the first of LPI's munchkins from 1996 to advance to a lead role. Tiffany Rodman was his mother, Ethel. Ren's fellow students included Willard Hewitt (Jake Janssen), Ariel Moore (Amanda Ellis), Rusty (Emily Timm), Urleen (Lindsey Jones) and Wendy Jo (Veronica Hilke). Rev. Moore was portrayed by Michael LeClair.
Footloose featured another huge cast (90+), and it provided a mix of comedy and drama. The sparkling soundtrack proved to be popular with young people (the title song is a multi-platinum hit).
Schueller, in his director's notes, said it was a pleasure to return to the summer theatre schedule, even though it brought back lots of memories. "This summer's show, like any other show, has revealed its joys, concerns, challenges, rewards, friendship and successes," he said. "It has truly been a remarkable experience."
Historians say that more than 65 American towns prohibited public dancing at one time or another. Most have changed, as did Bomont, by the end of this rollicking musical. Footloose had audience members singing along with Ren, "I Can't Stand Still."