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Footloose spurs students to kick off their Sunday shoes

Cathy Dobson Evie Bennett and many of her co-stars in the upcoming St. Patrick’s High School production of Footloose say they aren’t old enough to be rock and roll fans.
Sam McKibbon and Evie Bennett perform during a dress rehearsal of the musical Footloose being staged by St. Patrick’s High School students at the Imperial Theatre, March 1,2 and 3. Glenn Ogilvie

Cathy Dobson   

Evie Bennett and many of her co-stars in the upcoming St. Patrick’s High School production of Footloose say they aren’t old enough to be rock and roll fans.

But they’re big fans of the high-energy tunes in Footloose, a film released in 1984 starring Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer. Fifteen years later, it was rewritten as a Broadway play.

The soundtrack has sold more than nine million copies and includes Kenny Loggins’ hit Footloose, Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out for a Hero and Sammy Hagar’s Girl Gets Around.

“Most of us don’t really listen to rock music,” explained Bennett, 15, who plays the female lead Ariel Moore.

“I’m more into R & B, so we have to work hard to get into rock,” she added. “But it’s fun because this music is so toe-tapping. It makes you feel happy.”

Bennett takes private vocal lessons and says music and theatre are her passion. She was thrilled to land the role of Ariel during auditions last October, she said.

More than 60 students tried out for a part, said Martina Austin, a drama teacher and the show’s director.

Many students in Sarnia can sing and dance, she said.  “It’s really amazing for a city this size.”

The 27 parts in the St. Pat’s production were cast last fall and rehearsals are being held four times a week. The drama club stages a production annually but it’s not always a musical, said Austin.

Only the more elaborate shows are at The Imperial Theatre where there’s more stage space and seating than at school.

Rachel Arseneau, a Grade 12 student, has been on stage for several St. Pat’s productions. This time she’s in the pit with a nine-member band under the musical direction of teacher Denise Chaulk.

Arseneau plays clarinet and hopes to study music in university next year.

“I’ve always loved playing, and doing Footloose is giving me great experience,” she said.

Kevin Bacon’s part, Ren MacCormack, is played by Sam McKibbon. He’s also in Grade 12 and in a lead role for the first time.

“I’ve been on the stage since I was 10,” he said. “It’s always been a hobby of mine. I’m making it my #1 priority right now.”

He’s also an R&B fan, but says the songs from Footloose are a lot of fun.

“There are so many songs like Let’s Hear it for the Boy and Almost Paradise that people will know,” McKibbon said.  “It’s a good time all around.”

The storyline is about a small town in which a respected preacher forbids singing and dancing, until a young city boy shakes things up.

“It’s got a good message that anyone can relate to. I like how it’s the youth who change the minds of the adults,” said Austin.


WHAT: St. Patrick’s Catholic High School presents Footloose.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. March 1, 2 and 3.

WHERE: Imperial Theatre on Christina Street.

TICKETS: $16 Adults; $12 Students. Call the box office at 519-344-7469 or visit

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