For three nights, the Luther Middle School production of Footloose, entertained and delighted the crowded auditorium, bringing to life the 1984 musical adaptation to the Burbank school’s stage. Directors, Stefanie Enokian and Anthony Redman worked on the show for three years and on January 26, 27, and 28, their efforts came to fruition.
Footloose first hit the big screen in 1984, starring Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer, becoming a movie icon and selling over 17 million copies of the soundtrack worldwide. In 1998, the musical adaptation of Footloose opened on Broadway and in 2011 a remake hit the screen with musical changes and restorations.
Luther’s Youth Edition of Footloose was designed for school age performers and celebrates the wisdom of listening to young people and guiding them with open hearts and minds. “We are extremely proud of this production,” said Enokian and Redman in the Director’s Note of the program. “The quality of the cast, technical crew, and costume crew are outstanding. A truly successful production involves more than what is presented on stage.”
The students did an exceptional job on stage and Tony Award nominated Broadway Producer and current Producing Artistic Director of The Colony Theatre, Heather Provost, was thrilled to be in attendance and witness the incredible performance. “Having done the tour of this show years ago, I was super excited to revisit it. I was so impressed by the cast and crew and the entire production as a whole,” said Provost. “Kudos to the directors for mounting such a special show. The work they presented on that stage was no easy feat. I was so proud to be in the audience. Live theatre is such a gift, and to see so many Burbank kids involved was not only uplifting, but inspiring to a producer such as myself.”
8th grader, Ronin Nalbantian, played the lead role of Ren McCormack in the production and although he has been in numerous shows, Footloose was his first musical. “We are beyond proud and incredibly impressed with the hard work Ronin and all his cast members have put in since last September for this show. Bravo to all,” said Nalbantian’s parents, Steve and Emily.
Starring alongside Nalbantian, was Bella Meneses in the role of Ariel Moore. Meneses has been singing since she was eight years old and even took first place in the Burbank Singing Star competition. She’s had the honor of singing the National Anthem at multiple sporting events including the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, Kings and more.
“I’m very proud how hard Isabella worked for this performance. She continues to impress us with her commitment to singing and performing,” said Meneses’ father, Miguel. “Footloose was nothing but an amazing show filled with extremely talented kids. That school is filled with very talented young stars.”
During one of the Footloose performance nights, Meneses’ vocal teacher, TikTok sensation with 14.2 million followers, Cheryl Porter, attended the event in support of Bella. Porter flew in to see the show from Chicago, donning a “GO BELLA FOOTLOOSE” jean jacket. In 2021, Meneses’ parents set up a surprise birthday visit from Porter that went viral on YouTube. Since that day, Porter has been Bella’s mentor, vocal coach, and friend.
Porter took pictures with adoring fans in the audience and cast and went backstage to congratulate the students on such an amazing show. She even surprised guests by auctioning off a one hour vocal lesson with her that helped to raise $650 for Luther’s music program.
Students Sofia Martinez (Rusty), Stella Payne (Vi Moore), Jacob Worsham (Willard Hewitt) and Tatum Beal (Shaw Moore) had incredible solos in the show, adding to the immense talent of the Luther music program. Martinez has won Best Musicianship in 6th grade choir and 2nd place in the 2021 Luther’s Got Talent. Payne has been performing in musicals since she was five years old and is currently a seventh-grade member of the Spotlight Choir and the National Children’s Choir. Beal is a seventh-grade member of the Starlight Choir and 2022 Reflections contest winner. Worsham has been performing since he was three years old and currently works with a vocal coach.
Almost 60 students made up the leading roles, supporting roles, and ensemble, bringing together an exceptional show that delivered songs and dancing to make any Footloose fan proud. Students Molly Hauser (Urleen) and Norah Redman (Wendy Joe) also played in leading roles and were featured throughout the whole production. Both Hauser and Redman attend theatre camps together in the summer.
The three night production ended with a special surprise at Luther’s Footloose. 8th grader Jacob Worsham who played the role of Willard Hewitt, took to the stage after the show holding flowers and a giant sign reading “Urleen will you go to Semi with me?” The character Urleen was played by 8th grader Molly Hauser, and Worsham’s sweet semi-formal dance proposal was welcomed by Hauser with a hug and definite “yes!”
If you missed Luther’s Footloose the Musical, you can still watch the entire show on YouTube here.