STC Gets ‘Footloose’ with Four Shows in Branford
With an amazing singing and dancing adult cast of 40 from across the shoreline, Footloose, the 15th production of Branford Parks and Recreation Shoreline Theater Company (STC), will dance into town with four shows on Thursday, June 29, Friday, June 30 and Thursday, July 6 and Friday, July 7.
“This year, we’re celebrating our fifth year,” said Colin Sheehan, co-director with Mike Martone. “We started in 2018 with our first show, which was Hairspray. And even with the break we had to take with COVID between our summer camps, winter camps, and adult productions of musicals or plays, this is number 15.”
Sheehan said the number of talented adult performers coming out to audition increases every year, with hopefuls coming from as far as New York and Rhode Island. Members of the Footloose cast hail from Branford, East Haven, Guilford, Killingworth, Milford, New Haven, Northford, Old Lyme, and Trumbull.
“They’re finding us to be pretty unique because not only do we have great children’s programs, but we also have opportunities for adults who like to do this just to have fun,” said Sheehan. “Some of these adults last performed in high school, and they’re revisiting it, and some have never performed on stage before, and they’re crossing something off their bucket list.”
Sheehan said there is no question the program owes a lot of its success to being under the umbrella of Branford Parks and Recreation.
“We are one of the few Parks and Recreation departments, not only in the state but in the country, with a theatre program. And most, if they have a theatre program, focus only on the youth aspect. I think that’s one of the things that sets our community apart and what makes Branford Parks and Recreation Shoreline Theatre Company so special,” said Sheehan.
A Branford native who returned here from a career in New York City in show business and events to help promote the arts in his community, Sheehan additionally serves as the Town of Branford’s arts, culture, and special events coordinator.
Martone, who is also Branford High School’s (BHS) music director, is leading a live pit band for this production of Footloose. In addition, the STC production creative team has the talents of choreographer Paola Rarick, co-owner of StudioOne Dance Center in Branford.
“It’s so great, in five years, what the community has allowed us to do, and what our creative team has done,” said Sheehan. “We’re also lucky enough, Mike and Paola and myself, to work with a lot of Branford High School students in the high school musicals.”
While BHS musicals allow for at least two months of solid, educational rehearsal time with a gathered cast, adults in STC productions have varied schedules and busy lives which need to be fitted into the rehearsal framework.
“We do a lot more, in a lot less time, with these productions,” says Sheehan. “It’s a challenge for us, but we’re up for that challenge. Everyone works not only at rehearsal but also behind the scenes and at home to make sure we put out the best product ever.”
As a musical, Footloose opened on Broadway in 1998, based on the 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon. The chance to experience the show in Branford as live musical theatre for about the same price as a movie ticket is something Sheehan said should not be passed up.
“The dancing, the singing, it’s just incredible,” said Sheehan.
Tickets, $15 for adults, $10 ages 17 and under, are available to purchase online now at shorelinetheatrecompany.com or at the door on show nights.
Sheehan said the program is grateful to the many from Branford and across the shoreline who make a point of coming out to see these spectacular shows.
“We’re just so lucky that the community and other communities have embraced us,” he said.
He’s hoping word of mouth will help build even bigger audiences for Footloose.
“This is our first time splitting it up into two weekends. I think people will see this first weekend and talk about it, and maybe even come back themselves to see it again the next weekend,” said Sheehan. “So everyone come on down, and let loose, and get ready to have some fun!”
Branford Parks and Recreation Shoreline Theater Company presents Footloose Thursday, June 29 and Friday, June 30 and Thursday, July, 6 and Friday, July 7, at 7 p.m. in the Cathyann Roding Auditorium at Branford High School, 185 East Main Street. For information or to purchase tickets, visit shorelinetheatrecompany.com