A NoHo Arts theatre review of Footloose: The Musical, produced by Panic! Productions and BarCinBoo Productions at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center through May 14.
L-R FRONT TO BACK: Mary Kate Chapman, Ayumi Matsumoto, Sasha Serdyukov, Lily Targett, Tyler Marie Watkins, Leonardo Cecchi, Thomas Whitcomb, Kenneth Gary, Hannah Battersby, Andreas Pantazis, Morgan Lavin, Megan Vargas, Megan Holeman, Jaeda Stone and at the very end in the right, MJ Mikesell ON STEPS AND BRIDGE L-R: Carson Christ, Max Oliver, Dylan Woodford, Casey Ryan Hunter Uliasz and at the very right end, Noah Heie (Photo by Richard Andert)

[NoHo Arts District, CA] – A NoHo Arts theatre review of Footloose: The Musical, produced by Panic! Productions and BarCinBoo Productions at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center through May 14.

Panic Productions is back at the Simi Valley Cultural Center with the seminal eighties musical, Footloose.  Based on the 1984 film, a Broadway musical was created with music by Tom Snow (among others), the lyrics by Dean Pitchford (with additional lyrics by Kenny Loggins), and the book by Pitchford and Walter Bobbie.

This production of the hugely successful musical is a fast-paced, high-octane tribute to the film that changed the movie musical landscape forever. Those of us who are ancient enough to have seen the movie when it opened have vivid memories of who we were with, how many times we saw it, how high our hair was…I have total recall myself. The blissful drive home singing the songs that were already huge hits.  It’s a truly wonderful show, but it does require some nerve to pull it off, such is the high bar the movie sets.

A NoHo Arts theatre review of Footloose: The Musical, produced by Panic! Productions and BarCinBoo Productions at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center through May 14.
Carson Christ (Cowboy Bob) and the Ensemble (Photograph by Richard Andert)

I can set your minds at ease then. This production of Footloose is absolutely brilliant!  What a great achievement to take a group of high school-age kids and young adults and show them just how excellent they can be in a show that gives them the chance to play interesting, funny and uplifting characters, sing some of the best songs ever written and dance, dance, dance!

It helps that they have the support of a stellar adult cast playing the school principal, parents and of course the preacher who banned dancing in the city limits. They are all wonderful actors and singers themselves. But really it’s the kids who are the stars of the show and they absolutely should be. Together they dance and sing and act their hearts out. 

The Footloose story, in case you have been living under a rock for the past 40 years, revolves around Ren, a high school student and recent transplant from Chicago to the very small town of Bomont. He and his mother moved in with his aunt after his father abandons them. They hope to start a new life, but run into the small town, small minds scenario repeatedly.  Ren keeps getting in trouble no matter how hard he tries to fit in. Add to that the fact that due to a tragedy years before, no dancing is allowed within the city limits, and rock music is also banned. Ren sets out to change things and falls in love with the preacher’s daughter, who is the town rebel herself. It’s a simple story, but gives ample excuse for fun and obviously singing and dancing!

I enjoyed every minute…as did the entire audience. You could feel the energy from the stage filling the theatre and the hearts of everyone! The live band was also excellent, keeping the 80’s vibe, accompanying the singers and dancers and rockin’ out to the wonderful music.

We are lucky to have the opportunity to see such an amazing musical performed by local actors and in such a great theatre too!  It really takes no time at all to get to Simi Valley Cultural Center, we really should support all our local theatres!

I highly recommend Footloose produced by Panic! Productions and BarCinBoo Productions. You have a few more weekends to see it, but don’t dawdle!



Running through May 14
Fridays 8PM, Saturdays 2PM and 8PM (5/6 & 5/13) and Sundays 2PM 


Book: Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie
Lyrics: Dean Pitchford, Kenny Loggins, and others
Music: Tom Snow
Director: Barry Pearl
Director/Choreographer: Michelle Elkin
Music Director: Jeff Gibson
Vocal Director: Jan Roper
PSM:  Rachel Goodman
Producers: Panic! Productions, BarCinBoo Productions, Inc., Paige Loter, and Alison Mahay
Publicity:  Sandra Kuker PR (Sandra Kuker-Franco)


Thomas Whitcomb – “Ren McCormack”
Hannah Battersby – “Ariel Moore”
Tyler Marie Watkins – “Rusty”
Lily Targett – “Urleen”
Megan Vargas – “Wendy Jo”
Leonardo Cecchi – “Chuck Cranston”
Andreas Pantazis – “Willard Hewitt”
Cindy Pearl – “Betty/Lulu Warnicker”
Paul Panico – “Reverend Shaw Moore”
Vivien Latham – “Principal Clark”
Ron Rezac – “Coach Roger Dunbar”
Carson Christ – “Cowboy Bob”
Maxwell Oliver – “Travis”
Dylan Woodford – “Lyle”
Ronna Jones – “Vi Moore”
Renee Cohen – “Ethel McCormack”
Peter Miller – “Wes Warnicker”
Noah Heie – “Garvin”
Casey Ryan – “Jeter”
Hunter Uliasz – “Bickle”
Margaret Mortimore – “Ensemble”‘
Kenneth Gary – “Ensemble”
Morgan Lavin – “Ensemble/Assistant Choreographer”
Mary Kate Chapman – “Ensemble/Assistant Choreographer/Dance Captain”
MJ Mikesell – “Ensemble”
Jaeda Stone – “Ensemble”
Ayumi Matsumoto – “Ensemble”
Megan Holeman – “Ensemble”
Sasha Serdyukov – “Ensemble”