Footloose | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


David H. Bell's exceptional cast finds all the brightness and humanity in this stage version of the 1984 film, about a troubled city boy stuck in a small town that's outlawed dancing. The movie's pop score mostly translates well in Walter Bobbie and Dean Pitchford's 1998 adaptation of Pitchford's screenplay. The high point is "Somebody's Eyes," which becomes a gospel refrain--gloriously led by Dorrey Lyles--highlighting the double meaning of prying neighbors and a vigilant God. (On the flip side, "Almost Paradise" is a terrible, terrible song whether heard onstage, on-screen, or on iPod.) Bursting with a vitality that starts with Tyler Hanes as the multitalented, yummy rebel and spreads through the ranks, this show gives the story more wit and heart than it ever deserved. Watching it almost makes you want to relive adolescence. Almost. Through 11/27: Wed-Fri 8 PM, Sat 5 and 8:30 PM, Sun 1 and 5 PM. Also 1 PM Wed. Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Rte. 21 (Milwaukee Ave.), Lincolnshire, 847-634-0200. $37-$42.

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