by Michael Meigs
I attended Zilker Theatre Production's Footloose ten days ago on opening weekend, and I'm only just now writing it up. They've got a nice long run -- six weeks, four night a week -- and an Austin tradition of celebrating the summer that stretches back 53 years. Judging from the full parking lot and the large, cheerful crowd lounging on the slope above the Hillside Theatre, Zilker Productions doesn't need much help in selling the production, either. Except for the modest $3 parking fee that probably serves to renovate the Zilker lawn after the summer, the price is zero, nada, free admission for summer theatre entertainment of good quality under the moon and stars.
After all, in classic economic theory, as the price of a good approaches zero, demand approaches infinity. If you were really determined to do so, you could attend this show for nothing at all -- bicycling or walking in and not budging at the intermission when the energetic young cast bounds out to seek donations (suggested: $10 per blanket).
Plus, they will get their reviews. For last year's production of The Music Man, both Elizabeth Cobbe of the Austin Chronicle and Clare Carnavan of the Statesman wrote up the production about halfway through the run.
Male lead Andrew Cannata with his confident tenor, sure dancing and leading boy presence has an admiring following in Austin and will become even better known with this show. He and the core cast of teens rock and clown it up with the showy choreography of Danny Herman and Rocker Verastique. The live band led by Susan Finnigan rocks it out through the muscular sound system, initially from backstage and then later at stage center.