When audience members go to see a fun, energetic, and iconic show such as "Footloose", there are certain aspects that need to be met (such as the dancing and singing), and I can happily say, Hopebox Theatre did just that! There were many times that I wanted to hop up on that stage with them and dance! One of my favorite things about seeing shows at the Hopebox is all the heart that goes into these productions. For those of you who haven't made your way over to see a show there, I definitely recommend doing so!
From the very beginning of the show, I knew the vocals would be absolutely top notch. Starting off the show, we have Rusty (Keely Parry), Urleen (Grace Scothern), and Wendy Jo (Emily Nuttall) take the stage and completely knock the socks off the audience with their amazing and strong vocals. In fact, every time they came back on that stage for any song, the audience seemed to get more and more excited to hear them all sing together in sweet harmony. Ariel (Julia Bradford) and Ren (Noah Bradford) had a beautiful connection onstage as they sang "Almost Paradise" that swept the audiences hearts right out from under them. This could be due to the adorable fact that they are married in real life, but either way, it was a great casting choice, and they both shined in their roles. Another outstanding performance was given by Shaw (Paul Nielson) and Vi (Kristin Parry). I condone these actors for giving such a true, and raw performance, and thank them for being true on that stage. It can be hard to be so vulnerable onstage, but they did it flawlessly. So much so, that multiple people in the audience were sobbing by the end of "Can You Find It In Your Heart?" sung by Vi. Willard (Ben Bown) was so perfectly awkward, that you couldn't help but fall in love with his character. The whole show, the audience was cheering him and Rusty on, and when they finally got their way, they couldn't help but cheer! A favorite of the audience was "Mama Says", and I could tell it was a favorite of those cast members involved in it as well.
The choreography done by Kayley and Kelsey Turner was wonderfully done! A big standout number was "Footloose" (Finale). The way they fit everyone on that stage together and had them dancing seamlessly amazed me. There was a perfect mix of choreography in there to match the levels of the teens as well as adults. Some of the cast really shined during these dances, and those people are Noah Bradford, Keely Parry, Natalie Farnsworth, and Pippa Parry. These specific performers had the choreography flowing so nice and naturally with every move they did. They also were fully immersed in their characters at all times, and I loved watching them and found that my eyes would just go straight to them anytime they were onstage.
Along with wonderful dancing and singing, this production also delivered when it came to costumes and set. Costume design done by Ann Gardner and Stacy Herren perfectly captured each character. A few costume favorites of mine were Rusty and Ariel. I loved each and every new costume they came out in and couldn't wait for more! Set design by Amy Turner made the stage look bigger than it was, and helped the actors perfectly execute their blocking. I loved the freedom and use of stage the actors had, and felt it added so much to each scene. As well as great costume and set design, I also really enjoyed the lighting design by Derek Raynor. It helped bring in the audience even more with perfectly lit scenes.
The Hopebox Theatre's mission is a very special one. Each show, they pick a Wall of Hope recipient who has been battling cancer, and a portion of ticket sales goes to this recipient. There are also direct donations that go straight to the recipient as well. These shows they put on are not only great talent wise, but they are great heart wise. Each actor and crew member lays their heart directly on that stage and supports their recipient for the show. This shows recipient is Brian Washburn, who just so happens to have a family that is heavily involved in Utah's theatre community. To see the love each of those actors have for Brian just absolutely melted my heart. They are in it for all the right reasons! Theatre matters, theatre is important, theatre is impactful.