Footloose the Musical took Fort McMurray by storm when it opened last Friday, receiving standing ovations and glowing reviews. With only four shows left and a handful of tickets available for the Friday and Saturday shows, we would like to introduce one of the shining artists that have embraced the Keyano stage for this production: meet Éva La Prairie, who plays Ariel Moore! Originally from Tumbler Ridge B.C, Éva moved with her family to Fort McMurray when she was 12, when her dad had to relocate for work. She was excited to move here, coming from a small town and knowing that Fort McMurray had more artistic opportunities to offer. She has three pets; two bulldogs (Winston and Bubba) and a ragdoll cat named Vanilla! Éva’s main vice is songwriting and singing in rock bands, and when this play is over her focus will be on recording new music and touring, but she says that “I absolutely love doing musical theater. I see musical theater as challenging and an important tool in expanding one’s artistic craft, especially since I want to be a versatile artist.”
How has your Keyano experience been so far?
“It’s been amazing, better than I imagined it would be. Just being able to work with professionals such as Kim Hurley (Dance Choreographer Director), Hilary Hornberger (Musical Director) and Karen Johnson-Diamond (Director) and the entire technical team and cast of Footloose, have really challenged me to do things I didn’t think I was capable of achieving artistically and creatively, especially in the beginning. I would resist trying new things artistically, but with the teams’ support, they helped me really open up to be become this sassy, assertive, tough character.
I think one my favourite parts creatively was the fight scenes with my (on-stage) parents. Karen (Director), Jason Beck (Reverend Moore) and Dianne Pare (Vi Moore) taught me acting techniques of how to release a passionate anger, in a heated moment that creates a mouth-dropping effect on stage. Once I was able to channel it, it blew my mind and opened up a different part of my craft, one of which I didn’t know I possessed. Just learning more about acting in general and interacting with fellow actors has been such a special experience for me.”
Tell us a little about your character Ariel, and what it’s like playing her?
“When my family told me Keyano was having auditions for Footloose I decided to watch the movie because I wasn’t very familiar with the characters and plot. After watching it I knew I had to be Ariel because of the similarities we both possessed when it came to life events. We aren’t very much alike in the sense of personalities but in life experiences I related to her so much. I grew up in a family dynamic where my father is in a leadership position that requires long hours, sacrifices and a work focus that causes him to be busy a lot of the time. I also experienced the loss of friend who was like a brother to me a couple years ago, and like Ariel I was so young and didn’t have a peer group or anyone to talk to about it because everyone was grieving. I had to keep a lot of feelings inside and act like I wasn’t hurting and then I would act out in certain ways just to deal with my pain and emotions. The thing I really tried to do with Ariel is that I wanted her to be perceived as more sensitive and vulnerable then how she is perceived in the films. I wanted her to be perceived as soft, vulnerable but still tough, someone who has mastered hiding their feelings. It was amazing to play her; I really liked how she is a dual character to play. I had to be this tough, wild character at the beginning of the story and then transform into this caring, strong, vulnerable woman at the end of it. It was a really special experience for me to play Ariel.”
What’s been the most difficult?
“Dancing and singing at the same time, ha-ha! Thanks to Kim our amazing choreographer, she taught me that dancing is not only physically challenging but is also mentally challenging. It’s not only about mastering dance moves, it’s about the confidence that Ariel carries when she walks, talks and dances, so that was difficult for me to undertake. I’m not used to moving my body like that when I sing, but am so thankful I was challenged in this way. In the future when I do more performances, especially with my band, I think I’ll have a much more lively stage presence, so thanks Kim for awakening that in me. It was also difficult to play a very confident type of character on stage because in my everyday life I’m more introverted and self-focused then compared to Ariel, but after studying her and working on this character, it was quite interesting to relate to her inner pain and to get out of my own skin to play this super confident, sassy type of character.”
What’s your favorite part of the play and what’s your favorite song?
“All of the songs are so amazing, its hard to pick just one! I think I love singing, “Almost Paradise” the most just because it sounds so pretty with the blending of the voices with Ren (Mitch Jewkes) and it seems to be this impactful song that just makes everyone stop what their doing and shifts the viewers into this total trance; taking the audience to a surreal, celestial place. With the combination of smoke, lights and atmosphere, it becomes a really special stage performance to experience as well as to perform. My favourite part of the play is the Burger Palace scene because it’s funny and so entertaining. I also love the finale because is it so lively, everyone’s energy is just on an ultimate high and the dance numbers are so well choreographed!”
“Musical theater and art is so important for communities, its so important to bring people together and to escape into a world of free emotional expression, love, singing, and dancing. It’s so rewarding do this show every night and I think the best part of this whole experience was making new friends and meeting a lot of amazing artists’ in this town. I love all my new friends and my Footloose family! All of the people backstage, on stage and behind the scenes are amazing and make this show incredible, with all of their hard work and dedication. Come see the show! Only one week left! Cut Footloose! “
Tickets available here.
Lyrics by Dean Pitchford
Stage Adaptation by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie
Based on the original screenplay by Dean Pitchford
Additional Music by Eric Carmen, Sammy Hagar, Kenny Loggins and Jim Steinman
Show dates: Feb 22, 23, 24, 25, 8:00 pm
Rating: Mature (16+) without adult supervision