Young actors go back to the future |

Young actors go back to the future

Matt Groy, an eighth-grader at Treasure Mountain International, has had plenty of experience playing characters from far, far away.

He has been in the cast of professional productions of "Oliver," "The Wizard of Oz" and The Who’s "Tommy" as well as a number of youth theater musicals at the Egyptian Theatre, Park City’s nonprofit stage at 328 Main Street.

This weekend, Matt will take on an era no less strange than the smoking streets of Victorian London or the dream-like Emerald City. He is going back to the 1980s.

Matt is an ensemble member of the Youtheatre production of "Footloose." The show opened Thursday, Aug. 14 and runs until Aug. 23. Tickets are $15.

As if making up for lost time, the 13-year-old changes costume seven times in the two-hour show, donning jeans, button-up shirts and a tuxedo.

Wardrobe changes en masse may not be out of character for most teenagers, but they are the rule for the 17 teenagers and nine adults in "Footloose," which cost about $25,000 to stage.

Youtheature is expecting solid ticket sales to cover the bill with a bigger, longer and more ambitious program than past productions, says Jane Talley, who is the education director as well as the director for "Footloose." Another caveat for this year’s production is that the actors didn’t have to pay costume or performance fees to participate.

"I really wanted to open the show up to everyone," Talley said. "I’ve had this idea in the back of my mind for a while."

"Footloose" includes a five-piece band and full lighting and sound crews. "We held nothing back," she said.

Brittany Shamy, 18, isn’t planning on holding anything back, either. She just doesn’t want to go on stage without anything on. Shammy plays the lead role of Ariel and has to make 12 costume changes over the course of the show, many of them in seconds. One moment she is hanging out in her pajamas and the next moment she’s swishing around in a prom dress. It’s all in a day’s work for the Brighton High School alumna, who was awarded a theater scholarship from Weber State University for the upcoming fall semester."

"I have the fastest costume changes in the history of the world," she said. "You really can’t beat the ’80s."

"Footloose" tells the story of a boy from Chicago who moves into a small-town Texas where rock music and dancing has been banned. The film was made in 1984 and starred Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer and John Lithgow. The show features songs such as "Holding out for a Hero," "Hurts so Good" and "Almost Paradise."

"Footloose" is different from other youth productions, Talley says, because it gives teenagers up to 18-years-old the chance to perform alongside adults. The kids learn from the adults on stage and the adults enjoy the boundless energy of their colleagues, she said.

Matt Groy, who was born more than a decade after the theatrical release of the film, said he likes the music and dance numbers in "Footloose," but what he has found most memorable is working with a cast from Park City and various places in the Salt Lake City Valley. "It’s been a lot of fun," he said. "Now we’re really coming along."

"Footloose" plays at the Mary G. Steiner Egyptian Theatre at 328 Main Street through Aug. 23. Performances are at 7:30 on Aug. 16 and at 2 p.m. Aug. 20-23.Running time 2 hours with a 15 minute intermission. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 435-649-9371.

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