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April 23, 2014

Photo Gallery, Cast List, Preview: New Castle to present ‘Footloose’

NEW CASTLE — Generations will clash once again when New Castle High students perform their 2014 spring musical this week.

But that’s just what “Footloose” intends.

Some parents who may have identified more with the younger generation when the original movie debuted in 1984 may view things differently 30 years later.

The film starred Kevin Bacon as Ren, Lori Singer as Ariel and John Lithgow as the Rev. Moore. Kenny Wormold, Julianne Hough and Dennis Quaid reprised those roles in a 2011 remake that brought the story to a new and younger audience.

Senior Herbie Hunkele and sophomores Roger Jones and Jerianne Zona have the starring roles in the New Castle High production

Hunkele plays the Rev. Shaw Moore while Jones and Zona are cast as the star-crossed lovers.

Following the storyline, Ren McCormack (Jones) is transplanted in a small town where he experiences a heavy dose of culture shock.

The dance-happy teenage boy now lives where dancing and rock-and-roll have been banned under the orders of local minister, the Rev. Shaw Moore, who is still traumatized by the long-past death of his son and three others in an alcohol- and party-related car accident.

Not one to bow to the status quo, Ren challenges the ban. After some clashes with the town’s puritanical adults and falling in love with the preacher’s rebellious daughter, Ren manages to convince the minister to allow for the prom to be held, albeit outside of town limits.

Both Herbie and Roger are pleased with how their characters are fleshed out.

“I like the part of Ren because his personality is so different from everybody else,” Jones said.

Hunkele says his character may be the villain, but the Rev. Moore “has an understandable side to him as well.”

Shannon Geary, assistant director, said Hunkele is perfect for the role. “Herbie is one of the most mature students. He has that leadership quality and a presence on stage to carry himself.”

Geary said Hunkele has shown great improvement in his vocals during the past year. Hunkele, a musician and member of the high school band, lets his voice provide the music this time. His rendition of “Heaven Help Me” is a personal favorite during the show.

“Footloose” is Hunkele’s third musical, while sophomores Jones and Zona have been acting and singing together since fifth grade.

A confrontation and heated argument between Moore and Ren plays out in Act One when Jones delivers what he believes to be the most powerful line in the story.

After the Rev. Moore asks to be left alone, Ren replies, “You’re already alone.”

Zona enjoys the changes that Ariel goes through during the play. “She has a multiple personality, depending on who she’s around,” Jones said.

Zone loves the soundtrack of the play. “Every song is upbeat and fun,” she said.

Her personal favorite is “Holding Out For a Hero.”

Geary praised Audra Moesta of the New Castle Playhouse for her help with costuming.

Director Sarah Puhala has a history with the play, having performed in it as a member of the Sharon High Class of 2006. “It’s a great play for high school kids because it’s about high school kids.”

Puhala and Geary have taken over for Karmin Dando and Joye Piscatella, who stepped down last year after directing New Castle High plays for several years.

“We have a lot to live up to,” Geary said. “They set the bar high.”

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