Arts & Entertainment

Glorifying Teenage Rebellion at Roxbury High


ROXBURY, NJ – You know your high school is pretty cool when it not only acknowledges the poignancy of “teenage rebellion and repression” but actually allows more than 100 of its students to work on a play about fighting those adult chains that crushingly bind pure, free-spirited youth.

Yes, Roxbury High School is fully supporting the upcoming production by its Performing Arts Department of “Footloose The Musical.” There will be four performances of the play, beginning Feb. 12, and the high school has no problem with the play’s clear embracement of rowdy teen behavior.

“Footloose is the classic tale of teenage rebellion and repression and features a delightful combination of dance choreography and realistic and touching performances,” notes an announcement of the play issued by the school.

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There might be some New Jersey high schools unwilling to embrace a student production that glorifies the actions of a young rabble-rouser determined to dance the night away and willing to fight the powers-that-be. But Roxbury High isn’t one of them.

“When teenager Ren McCormack and his family move from big-city Chicago to a small Midwestern town, he's in for a real case of culture shock,” says the school announcement of the play. “Though he tries hard to fit in, the streetwise Ren can't quite believe he's living in a place where rock music and dancing are illegal.  However, there is one small pleasure:  Ariel Moore, a troubled but lovely blonde with a jealous boyfriend.”

Yes, Roxbury High School has no problem describing a girl as a “troubled but lovely blonde” who brings "pleasure." 

In fact, it has no problem telling it like it is when it comes to the s-q-u-a-r-e bad-guy adult in Footloose: “Another character is a Bible-thumping minister, who is responsible for keeping the town dance-free,” says the school announcement. “Ren and his classmates want to do away with this ordinance, especially since the senior prom is around the corner, but only Ren has the courage to initiate a battle to abolish the outmoded ban and revitalize the spirit of the repressed townspeople.”

Is a nudity-laced production of “Hair” next on the agenda for Roxbury High School?

Up-tight parents and other upstanding, repressed citizens should take some deep breaths, lighten-up and go online to buy tickets for “Footloose.” They’re $12, a small price to pay when you consider that, as Roxbury High School noted, “Over 100 Roxbury students are involved in the production, whether performing on stage, working on the various building and running crews or playing in the pit orchestra.”

Performances, at the school, are scheduled for Feb. 12 at 7 p.m.; Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

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