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‘Footloose: The Musical’ on tap at Walled Lake Northern High School

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published January 24, 2019

WALLED LAKE — Walled Lake Northern High School senior César Nowicki will tell the story of main character Ren McCormack in “Footloose: The Musical,” which will be performed in February at the school, located at 6000 Bogie Lake Road in Commerce Township.

“I’ve done musicals every single year at Walled Lake Northern,” Nowicki said.

The Walled Lake Northern Performing Arts production of “Footloose” will have shows at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1-2 and 8-9, and at 2 p.m. Feb. 10.

Nowicki had his first lead role in the school’s production of “The Addams Family” last year, when he played Uncle Fester.

“So I have always been very committed to musicals, so I shaved my head bald for the last show we did. … It was a pretty big thing,” he said, adding that he was motivated to go the extra mile with his Ren character too. “I told myself that I really wanted to play Ren, so … I dressed up a little (like Ren).”

Nowicki added that everybody told him that he was going to get a different character and that there was “no point” in trying out for the lead because he was going to get a supporting role, which was not the case. “I got a call back for both Ren ... and (another character) everyone thought I would get,” he said.

He said he thinks he got the part because of his experience, his performance in some scene reading, and that he personifies the character well.

Jared Schneider, the school’s performing arts director, said that this production will be his sixth musical at the high school.

The production has a total of 77 cast members, four pit members and 13 behind-the-scenes members.

“The set itself going to be very barren, so you will feel like you are in Bomont,” he said, referring to the musical’s small-town setting. “There is really nothing to do. The kids are always anxious finding something to do in a small town — especially pre-internet.”

Schneider, 31, was born in the late 1980s and said that the production, set in the same decade, involved costume designers (parents of cast members) getting those styles picture perfect.

“This is their wheelhouse; they totally have been picking through things, making things that definitely pull from the ’80s,” Schneider said.

Schneider added that as the youngest in his family with older brothers and cousins, he knows 1980s styles.

He said that the plot — a young boy coming from Chicago into a small town that is totally against rock ’n’ roll — comes into play with the modern era because it is about wanting to be able to do something and knowing it is OK to have the right to do it.

“That is kind of why we chose to do the show this year, to show the community we can trust our younger generation to make decisions to better their own future,” Schneider said.

Nowicki said that during rehearsals, the cast does exercises where students have to talk about topics that they feel they should be rebelling against.

“(We) use that into our performance,” he said.

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