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Carroll County Times
Carroll County Lifestyles

Students’ hard work pays off as Winters Mill High School gets ‘Footloose’

Logan Saurborn, 18, waited until his senior year at Winters Mill High School to try out for a musical theater production, but scored the lead role nonetheless.

“I had always done spring sports,” said the track and field athlete. “When I decided I wanted to do the spring musical, I had next-to-nothing theater knowledge. I didn’t know what blocking meant and had to learn.”

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To his surprise, he secured the role of Ren McCormack in the musical version of “Footloose,” which the drama club presented on Friday and Saturday. The story revolves around McCormack, a city teenager who moves to a small town where rock ‘n roll and dancing are illegal.

“I’m having a lot of fun,” Saurborn said. “I’ve worked with so many people. It’s been a blast.”

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The musical is also director and theater teacher Charles Rice’s first at Winters Mill. He chose “Footloose,” he said, because it had a large cast – 51 students in the cast and crew – and there was a lot of interest in it.

“I want to build the program,” Rice said. “They haven’t had a show in years. It needs a lot of rebuilding.”

In February 2020, the school’s Drama Boosters president and treasurer was given probation before judgment and ordered to repay the theater program $5,000 after admitting to a theft scheme.

“With all the stuff we’ve been through, I have always had high expectations,” Rice told the cast and crew after a dress rehearsal on Thursday. “You made it happen. It was a lot of hard work. You are the stars.”

Sean Olsson, 18, a senior who plays the role of Rev. Shaw Moore and is also a student director, said that working on the production kept him going whenever things got stressful at school.

“We come together with a united purpose, to entertain,” Olsson said. “It’s been an invaluable experience.”

He will use what he learned during “Footloose” when he begins rehearsals for his next role in the new musical “Niagara,” which premieres in June at the DC Arts Center.

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Dave Andrews, the show’s musical director and Winters Mill’s chorus teacher, is amazed at the students’ accomplishments.

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“Having the time for this (show) with AP tests, a chorus concert, an art show going on, some of these guys are doing so much,” Andrews said. “I’m the teacher and I don’t want to be in their shoes.”

The cast, according to Olivia Walsh, a junior in the role of Ariel Moore, is “all working hard.”

“Everyone cares,” Walsh said. “This is not a show you see everywhere and I’m glad we’re doing it. It sets us apart.”

At Thursday’s dress rehearsal, Rice let the show run uninterrupted. Actors’ mics went on and off muffling some songs, but the show still went on.

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“Running it like a show gets all the little tics out,” Rice said. “They’ve done a great job.”

In his closing comments to the cast, Andrews’ advice mirrored the show’s title song, “Footloose.”

“Sing loud,” Andrews said. “Go for it.”


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