Holding out for a hero

This year’s high school musical, Footloose, lived up to the hype.


Nathan Baszuro

Ariel Moore, played by Teagan Strecker, is “Holding out for a hero” in Footloose.

Putting on a musical isn’t easy, especially with a limited budget and tech that isn’t exactly state-of-the-art. Putting on an adult-quality show while making do with the resources of a high school only adds to the difficulty. The Cannon Falls Theater club has shown its capability to do just that and then some.

Singing is not a visible skill; good singers do not have an extra large throat muscle that lets people know that they sing. Because singers have nothing to visibly distinguish themselves, it was surprising how good the solo vocals were. Tristin Qualey, the show’s male lead said that “We put a lot of work into the soundtrack. Our old choir teacher, Ms. Franke, came back and really helped us as we worked on our vocals.” The solo songs in Footloose were excellent by most standards, never mind for a high school. Copious amounts of talent were displayed on Friday from all parts of the theater team but were most conspicuous from the solo singers, especially Cannon Quade (playing Reverend Moore), Lydia Pedersen (Vi Moore), and Tristin Qualey (Ren McCormack). Songs sung in groups were performed well but were overshadowed by the extraordinary solos. Overall, the outstanding singers that were in the musical helped make it successful, in addition to the dancers. 

Reverend Moore discusses local issues with members of his congregation (Nathan Baszuro)

“Break a leg” is a popular phrase in the performing arts, meaning “good luck.” However, it is clearly not always taken this way by performers, as demonstrated by Tristin Qualey during dance routines. The number of flips he was doing, while singing at the same time, did seem like he took “break a leg” to heart, especially when he got dangerously close to the edge of the stage. The other dancers seemed to follow Tristin’s lead, running dangerously close to the edge of the stage frequently. The skill required to face the audience, sing, and dance at high speeds simultaneously is nothing short of spectacular, much like the performance. However, a dancer without a set is like a speaker with no crowd.

A live performance without props can feel incomplete, especially when backgrounds are needed to create the setting. If a performance requires more than one setting, there needs to be a good stage crew to switch them out quickly. While this show took quite a bit of time to switch scenes, the crew did well considering there were only a few people working. The techs did a good job moving props in under 2 minutes so the show could jump from scene to scene without losing its mood. At points, the crew may have been moving too quickly, leaving some props skewed or in the incorrect position, but those mistakes were quickly fixed.

Cowboy Bob threatens Willard at the BBQ for being too aggressive (Nathan Baszuro)

Another necessary part of a performance is lighting and sound. There were skilled techs making the show run smoothly throughout. Near the beginning of the show, there were some issues with microphones and sound causing the output to be scratchy and choppy. However, the actors did a good job of continuing with the show as earlier rehearsed and not paying attention to technology issues. Since the show went on, it seemed like the troubles were not even there. Some lights in the setting seemed unnecessary at times, such as the multicolored moving backdrop that took place at times. Still, all in all, the techs working on the show played a big part in its success.

Audience members could tell that a lot of work had gone into the show. Jessica Baszuro, a senior at CFHS, said that “I could tell by all of the props, lights, and choreography that the cast really pulled out all the stops for this show. My love for this show is greater than my love for chocolate, which says a lot.”

My love for this show is greater than my love for chocolate, which says a lot

— Jessica Baszuro

In conclusion, Footloose was a success by any standard, from killer solos to excellent lighting, and shattering any doubts of a stunning performance. Massive congratulations are in order to everyone who helped make this show possible, and more attention is deserved for Cannon Falls Theater performances in general.