Augusta Junior Players to put own spin on 'Footloose'

SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Courtney Anderson (left) and Peter Brannigan (right), along with cast of the Augusta Junior Players rehearse for Footloose at Cross Bridge Church.
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The Augusta Junior Players likes to bring a splash to the summer theater scene with its musical productions, and director Rebecca Brune said this year is no different.

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Courtney Anderson (from left), Peter Brannigan, Jarred Hanner and Ashton Montgomery play the lead roles of Ariel, Ren, Willard and Rusty in the upcoming musical production Footloose.   SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Courtney Anderson (from left), Peter Brannigan, Jarred Hanner and Ashton Montgomery play the lead roles of Ariel, Ren, Willard and Rusty in the upcoming musical production Footloose.

“We’re always looking to top the last show we did. We’ve done a lot of musicals with dance, but we call this one a dance-ical,” said Brune of Footloose, which will be staged at Greenbrier High School at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 26, and Saturday, July 27. A matinee will likely be added if opening night sells out.

Based on the 1984 film of the same title, the play is as close an adaptation of the film as they come, according to Courtney Anderson, who takes on the role of Ariel, the rebellious preacher’s kid.

“I’ve seen the movies many, many times,” said Anderson, who will be dually enrolled at Lakeside High School and Georgia Regents University in the fall. “It’s almost word for word with the (play) script.”

While she’s watched both the original and 2011 screen versions, Anderson said she prefers the more recent portrayal of Ariel by Julianne Hough over Lori Singer’s, but she’s trying to create her own spin on the character rather than model her after either actress’ portrayal.

For Footloose, Anderson is opposite an actor with whom she’s worked on many shows at Lakeside High School and with the Augusta Junior Players.

Peter Brannigan has appeared with Anderson in High School Musical 2, Seussical and Into the Woods among other productions.

“This will be the first time we’ve played opposites,” said Brannigan, a rising senior, who plays Ren, a displaced teenager who moves from Chicago to the small town of Bomont, Ga., after his father leaves his mother. The single mom and son have to move in with relatives.

His influence disrupts the tiny community, where dancing and rock music have been banned. The actors said it’s a timeless story that could be set in any era, and the lead characters have problems to which people of any time frame could relate.

“She’s got this wall built up around her after her brother died,” said Anderson of her character.

“And Ren comes in. Ren understands because they’ve both lost someone. He breaks those walls down,” said Brannigan.

But it’s set in the ’80s so Brune is making sure the actors stay true to the era.

“It is a period piece,” she said. “With the costuming, it’s great. All of that fashion is coming back, and it’s easy to find what we need. The challenge is getting them to sing like the ’80s. It’s hard for them to get into that vocal style.”

Tickets for Footloose are $12 for ages 13 and older and $8 for those 12 and younger and may be purchased at the door. For more information, call (706) 826-4707.

ONSTAGE

WHAT: Footloose

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 26, and Saturday, July 27

WHERE: Greenbrier High School

TICKETS: $12 adults; $8 ages 12 and younger at the door

MORE: (706) 826-4707


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