Auditions this week for fall production of Footloose

June 17, 2024, 9:50 am
Ashley Bochek

A scene from Creative Vision Productions’ All Together Now.

Creative Vision Productions is planning a new production for this November—the musical Footloose—and auditions are coming up this week.

Sandra Poole and Sherrie Meredith are excited to get the play rolling with auditions and then the start of rehearsals soon after.

Meredith says they had hoped to perform Mamma Mia this fall. “We actually had hoped to have done Mamma Mia this time around, but we were unable to secure the rights to perform it because it is a touring production this year,” she said.

“Then, we looked at some backup options and we got to looking at our demographic and Sandra had a list of names, and I had a list of names, then Sandra had said, ‘What do you think about this one?’ I had only seen it done as a high school production, but it can be quite good. We love the music.”

Poole explains they will be performing the Broadway musical of Footloose based on the original movie.

“We are doing the Broadway Footloose. Broadway is always a little bit different than the movie. Usually the movie comes out after Broadway, but this time it is the other way around.”

Meredith adds, “The Broadway play is based on the original movie. There is a lot of original music from that soundtrack and then there is going to be some additional songs that won’t have been on the soundtrack either to build into the characterization of the play.”

Footloose is based on high school students, so the directors will be looking for high school students to fill many of the roles.

Poole says, “It is a high school play so we are capping at grade 7 and up. There is the minister, two mothers, gym teacher and his wife, and the uncle and his wife, so there will be other characters for adults.”

Poole says auditions will start this coming Wednesday and be held for three days.

“Auditions start Wednesday, the 19th, this week for three days.”

“We didn’t know that we were going to be doing Footloose until within the last 10 days,” Meredith explains. “Everyone I have talked to in terms of our Creative Visions Choir, and any crew members or cast are very excited for this new show.”

Meredith says they have contacted their previous performers about auditioning. “We let people know last week about auditioning so they have about a week to get ready. We don’t expect anyone to be polished. We can usually see the shine as they go, but it would be nice if they are familiar with the piece they are looking at and know the music somewhat.”

Poole says once they are finished auditions, practices will be twice a week initially.

“It will be twice a week for practice and sometimes three times a week when it gets intense and busy in terms of the rehearsal schedule.”

Meredith adds, “The audition itself is probably a 10-15 minute slot, but it’s quite a commitment to be part of the production. In the week of performing it gets quite busy.

“Sandra and I run the auditions. We have invited the local dance teacher, Ayla Schwandt, to come and do some dance workshops as well so we can look at that angle, but it will be primarily Sandra and I that will do the casting.”

Everyone welcome to audition
Poole says auditions are open to anyone in the surrounding communities.

“Anyone who is interested can come and audition. You just never know. I have sent out an email saying you don’t have to have had dance lessons because sometimes people just have natural rhythm. So, if you are a closet dancer in your room come on out.”

“The best part is the whole premise of the play is learning to dance so it doesn’t need to be polished because they are learning,” Meredith explains.

Poole adds, “That is what the author of the play wrote in his notes too, saying that is doesn’t have to be incredibly polished at the beginning.”

“Another thing is, Sandra and I are both teachers and so we will work with people and they will learn,” Meredith says. “Sandra works with people and their singing changes from the beginning to end—it is amazing to see. They can learn as they go.”

Experienced and new performers welcome to audition
They say experienced performers and new people come to the auditions each time.

“There is always a mix between experienced and new performers,” Poole says. “There is always new people and this time they’re already calling—some that I have never talked to before.

“We have had performers come from Rocanville, Wawota, Maryfield, and Moosomin.”

Meredith says they pull from many local communities. “We have people as far as Whitewood come and audition, there is a young man from Redvers who is thinking of auditioning. Someone had mentioned that some people from Esterhazy might be interested. We just never know, that is the beauty of it all. There is always some recurring people that are good, and that have been with us since the beginning.”

Poole adds, “We always have our choir too so we have our people who are in harmony and tight. Then, everyone can come from there and learn from our tight group of singers that know what they are doing. They learn the harmony very quickly that way.”

Poole and Meredith say they don’t have a number set for how many people will be cast for Footloose.

“Sherrie and I being educators it is hard to set a number and only have that many people.” Poole said.

Meredith explains, “Sometimes it depends on the auditions too. The script calls for so many—it is about a dozen main roles and then the chorus, the choir, and the dancers, as well. This cast can get quite big. Sometimes the talent blows us away, and we have made some decisions in the past to double cast certain roles” (have different performers take a role in different performances).

“It makes a bit of a challenge for rehearsals if you double cast and a challenge for our costume people. It has worked out though. It is just harder to navigate, but they always do a great job.”

Poole adds, “I’ve already started thinking if we have so many people then they don’t have to be all on the stage at the same time like Beauty and the Beast. That got to be big groups on the stage at one time.”

Rehearsals will go all summer
Poole says they will be working on the play all summer in order to be ready to perform this November.

“We are going to be planning and organizing all summer. Then things change, we tweak, and have ideas. It is exciting that Ayla wants to join us and help with the choreography this year. She is really excited to be on board which is great.”

Meredith says, “It is a labour of love. It gives a different venue for us to use our creativity.”

Poole says Footloose will be a three day production in late November. “The performance will be November 22-24. We booked that long before we had this show in mind. There will be four shows.”

Meredith says they have many great committees involved in the production.

“Lynn McGonigal and Rosanne Kelly are our leads for costumes, but they are a great committee. Also, Bernie Nosterud, Tammy Beckett, Rose Mullet, and Tammy Statz.”

They both spend many hours planning, organizing, and rehearsing the performances before showtime.

Poole says, “I don’t even know if we want to know how much time and work it is putting on these shows. As Sherrie says, it is a labour of love so you pick the play then, I spent the whole day getting the audition package ready and Sherrie will be spending all day with set people on the sets.”

Meredith adds, “Terry Grant is usually the lead for sets, and Jen. Once we get it going we delegate few little areas and that works out well.”

“Terry and Jen have said they have started looking at shows already and they have ideas on what they want to do,” Poole states. “The costume people bring their sewing machines to the basement of the church so we are rehearsing upstairs in the CE building and they are working on the costumes downstairs.”

Meredith says there are a lot of people involved in putting these productions on, and many hours rehearsing.

“The people, the hours, the time everyone that is involved puts into it—there will be about 100 people involved in this and they all put in a lot of time, it is amazing.”

Excited to see performers excel
Poole and Meredith say they plan the performances every two years because they love being involved with the talented people within our community.

“We love working with people, we love seeing people shine in the community,” Poole explains. “There is so much talent out there and every time we put on a show someone new comes in and says, ‘I want to try it,’ and all of a sudden they’re stars.”

Meredith says she enjoys seeing everyone work together. “Just to have that opportunity to share your talent for the people involved, it is nice to have something where they can work together and have such an amazing performance.”

Working together
Poole explains, “We do have little communities, like the sewing people are a community, the set people are, Sherrie and I are a community now with Ayla too, and the actors are a community. They just become such good friends and it is really wonderful to see.”

Standout moments
Poole and Meredith enjoy the stages of planning and rehearsing the production.

“My favourite part is a month or so into rehearsals when you can see their characters starting to grow and they are getting their numbers down,” Poole says. “It is the journey that’s enjoyable—the end product is the icing on the cake. To see the experience of these people growing.

Meredith adds, “There are highlights along the way. Auditions are a nice starting point and then, certain rehearsals in are highlights. I like when we first go to the MCC and they start seeing things like the sets and the props for the first time and their eyes go big—when the worlds come together. They can see what we can see in our heads. We have been daydreaming it, but they can visually see it. It is really amazing.”