After seven months at the Novello Theatre and another UK tour, Footloose returned to the West End last night (22 August 2007, previews from 17 August), this time opening at the Playhouse Theatre, where it looks like it may be making a much more permanent home – albeit with a brief hiatus (See Today’s News).

The stage musical based on the popular 1984 teen film of the same name continues this year until 1 December and then have a three-month break, making way at the Playhouse for the previously scheduled Christmas transfer of Tintin from 6 December to 23 February (See News, 29 Jun 2007). In the new year, it resumes from 28 February and is currently taking bookings through to 30 August 2008.

Footloose centres on city boy Ren who moves with his mother to a small town in middle America where rock music and dancing are outlawed for religious reasons. Sparks fly when Ren and the minister's teenaged daughter Ariel rebel. The film version starred Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer.

Several of Kenny Loggins and Bonnie Tyler's songs from the movie - including "Let's Hear It for the Boy", "Almost Paradise", "Holding Out for a Hero" and the title song - became chart-topping pop hits. All are used in the stage musical.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF THE FOOTLOOSE 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.

For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the Footloose curtain call and post-show party at the Playhouse Theatre along with the company, including Tommy Sherlock (Ren), Miria Parvin (Ariel), Julian Agnew (Reverend Moore), Lyn Paul (Vi Moore), Giovanni Spano (Willard), Johnny Shentall (Chuck), Gemma O'Duffy (Rusty) and Lisa Gorgin (Wendy Jo).

The stage adaptation - with a book by Walter Bobbie and Dean Pitchford, who wrote the original screenplay - had its Broadway premiere in October 1998, running for nearly two years. The musical received its UK premiere in February 2004, launching its first tour from Plymouth (See News, 9 Jun 2004). After a second UK tour, the musical transferred in April 2006 to the West End’s Novello Theatre where it had a successful seven-month run but was forced to vacate to make way for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s annual West End residency (See News, 1 Sep 2006). Producers tried to find an alternative West End venue at the time but none were available.

Footloose is directed and choreographed by Karen Bruce and produced by Mark Goucher, Michael Rose, Tristan Baker and Jason Haigh-Ellery.

- by Terri Paddock