Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Courtesy of Toni Butler Emma Driggs as Ariel and Hayden Parkinson as Ren rehearse for the South Jordan Community Theatre production of “Footloose.”
Teenagers, adults build bridges in South Jordan production of ‘Footloose’
Community theater » Director wanted to celebrate teens and their importance.
First Published Jun 20 2013 11:00 am • Last Updated Jun 20 2013 11:00 am

Sixty of 100 cast members in the South Jordan Community Theatre production of "Footloose" were not even born in the same decade as the 1984 movie starring Kevin Bacon.

But "Footloose" is one of the theater’s family productions in which parents and children perform together in the cast, band and crew.

At a glance


Through June 25

Early Light Academy, 11709 S. Vadania Dr., South Jordan

Tickets cost $7 to $9

Produced by the South Jordan Community Theater

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"We did [Les Miserables] last year and a lot of people were stunned by how much they loved the production and how good it was and these are the same kids doing it," said Toni Butler, the play’s director and president of the theater company. "So we wanted to do another teenage one."

The story focuses on Ren McCormack, a teenager who moves from Chicago to the small Midwestern town of Bomont. Ren causes a stir by challenging the town’s ban on dancing instituted by Reverend Shaw after four teenagers, including his son, drove off a bridge after a night of partying. It is a story about teenagers bringing a community together. Butler said through the play, she wants to convey a message of valuing and celebrating teenagers as well as loving and finding value in one another.

"I happen to look a lot like a teenager. I look very young for my age and people mistake me for a teenager, so I am always surprised how quickly they judge me, and if they find out I’m an adult, they treat me differently," Butler said.

The bridge where the accident occurred figures prominently in the play.

"There’s been this basically this bridge that’s been torn down because of this accident, and they’re building that up, so we’ve talked about that and bridging relationships in our own lives and what can we do, applying it to our own lives," Butler said

One of the adults in the play is Geoff Means, who plays Reverend Shaw, said the bridge reflects the message of the play.

"I think the bridge is symbolic of the community. It’s a bridge that divides the community but then also holds them together to bridge that gap. There’s a lot of symbolism in the play, too, that’s really important," Means said.

Hayden Parkinson, who graduated from Herriman High School this year and plays Ren, said community and following your beliefs are important themes in the play.

story continues below
story continues below

"It’s this awful town that this terrible thing has happened to, and it took this one Ren McCormack kid to cause all this trouble for them to finally be able to as a community to get over this terrible event that happened when the four kids fell off the bridge and died. It’s really about moving on, not forgetting the past, but coming to terms with it and being OK with it," Parkinson said.

While Parkinson has not had Ren’s life experience, he still relates with some aspects of his life.

"I’ve been the new kid, too. I moved here to Utah the beginning of my junior year, and there’s always that anxiety, and I really love Ren’s story because he gets there and everything goes wrong, and I’ve felt that, too," Parkinson said.

Butler said working with teenagers in not different from working with adults.

"Surprisingly, the adults act more like teenagers. They’re actually really great. They really committed a lot of energy," Butler said. "I would say there’s not much difference. They both love to play, they both love to have fun get away do something different."


Twitter: @sltribSouth

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.