Philadelphia Academy bringing “Footloose” to KleinLife stage

More than 100 students are taking part in Philadelphia Academy’s production of “Footloose,” which will run March 19 to March 22 at KleinLife.

Philadelphia Academy Charter School students rehearse Friday, Feb. 28, for “Footloose: The Musical.” JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

Anthony Desher has spent countless hours singing and dancing.

The 11th-grader at Philadelphia Academy Charter High School has recently been rehearsing nearly every day for his role in “Footloose: The Musical.” 

He’s playing Ren McCormack, who’s portrayed by Philadelphia native Kevin Bacon in the 1984 film, which is perhaps best known for its soundtrack. 

“I had to watch the movie a couple of times to find the character and also impart my own characteristics,” Desher, 17, said. “It’s one of those classic movies, and you don’t really see plays of ‘Footloose’ these days.” 

More than 100 students in grades 4 through 12 are in Philadelphia Academy’s production, which will run for four days later this month at KleinLife in Bustleton. 

It’s a total school effort, teacher and production manager Susan Varra said, with students helping to create the backdrops and lighting. A student at the high school even designed the play’s poster.

Staff and parents are encouraging those from the community to come out for the show. It’s a cheap date night, teacher Darlene Allison told the Times

“I think that it’s great to see kids performing,” Varra added.

Philadelphia Academy Charter School students rehearse Friday, Feb. 28, for “Footloose: The Musical.” JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

Philadelphia Academy’s elementary school is at 11000 Roosevelt Blvd. and its high school is at 1700 Tomlinson Road. “Footloose” is bringing the buildings together. Auditions were held in December, and students have been practicing since the beginning of January.

The production will remind viewers of the movie, though some scenes are altered to keep the show kid-friendly, Varra said. 

Philadelphia Academy’s “Footloose” will go on stage at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 19, Friday, March 20, and Saturday, March 21, and at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 22, at KleinLife, 10100 Jamison Ave. Tickets are available for $11 at the door or online by visiting www.philadelphiaacademy.org. ••