I don’t know about you, but anytime someone says ‘Footloose’ to me, the Kenny Loggins 1984 Number One hit pops into my head… and it likes to stay there for a few days.
The movie of the same name starring a fresh faced Kevin Bacon defined the eighties and became a cult classic in the process. Then in 1998, the hit stage show Footloose: The Musical premiered on Broadway and ran for 709 performances before going on to become a worldwide smash hit.
Now it is back and will dance onto the Millennium Forum stage from Tuesday 31st May until Saturday 4th June as part of a major new UK Tour performed by a host of well-known stars.
Footloose tells the story of city boy Ren, played by Luke Baker, who has to move to a town in the middle of nowhere where dancing is banned. All hell breaks out as Ren breaks loose and soon has the whole town up on its feet. The show features all the classic 80s hits including Holding Out for a Hero, Almost Paradise, Let's Hear it for the Boy and the unforgettable title track.
One of the stars of this current UK tour is 911 boyband member Lee Brennan who plays the role of Willard, the close friend of lead character Ren.
We caught up with Lee this week and started by asking how much he is enjoying his debut theatre production.
“It’s my first proper musical and I’m having the time of my life. I’ve been learning about acting techniques which have been really interesting and working with a cast of 17 people on stage at the same time has been great. I’ve been picking up a lot of tips from the younger cast as well as the more experienced actors too.
“I only had four days of rehearsals before the show but the cast all came together and really helped me out on stage because there was a lot to take in in such a short space of time.”
Speaking about how the part came up, he said: “I got put forward for the audition after I finished pantomime in January, so I went along and did the audition in front of the producers, director and choreographers and got the call a few days later to say I had been chosen.
“I was gobsmacked in a way I guess, but I was like ‘this is the dream, big time’.”
Lee can see similarities between himself and the character of Willard who he plays in the production. “He’s probably got a bit of me in there” he said.
“He can come across as a bit dipsy at times, a bit endearing, a bit of a hothead. He also finds it difficult to communicate with his love interest but you can see his journey from initially being an inward guy to becoming more confident towards the end of the show. He’s very funny too. His scenes give the audience lots of laughs. I’m contributing to all that really by just being myself while playing that character as well.”
In speaking to Lee it was obvious just how much he was enjoying this new direction in his music career. “I’m having the time of my life. It’s a new experience and it is great learning new things and meeting new people. It’s a really tight team and everyone’s working really well together.
“I’d love to do more musicals in the future and learn more and more about acting. It’s really nice to learn something new and different from what I have been known for over the past twenty years.”
But although Lee admits that he would love to perform in more musicals in the future, 911 fans need not worry, the band are still going strong. “We will probably tour again in 2017” he said.
“One of our new songs has actually just been signed so when I finish up with Footloose in June we will get started on a music video then.”
You can catch Lee in the new UK production Footloose the Musical at the Millennium Forum from Tues 31st May until Sat 4th June with tickets now available from the Box Office and priced £12. (Photo Credit Ray Burmiston)