Paul Russell

authordirectorcasting director

A Free Man of Color | Oliver | The Scarlet Pimpernel | Mamma Mia | Bat Boy | Rocky Horror | Footloose - Barter | Footloose | Guys and Dolls



Footloose - Barter Theatre: Paul Russell, director


"FOOTLOOSE is a spectacular show!

...colorful, fast-paced, acrobatic. The guys are handsome, the girls beautiful and when the 27-member cast kicks the tires, and light the fires on this theatrical sky bird you are in for one wild high ride."


Robert McKinney, Washington County News


Personal revelation...


I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was yesterday.

Within days of each other I was in separate rehearsals for two shows I revisited as director. A first that wasn’t a simple redux times two.

To begin, a Barter Theatre remount of my MAMMA MIA! with much of the same cast that broke Barter box-office records a few months prior. MAMMA MIA! rehearsals was basically us stretching our creative muscle memory laced with improvements we had the luxury and joy of finding in an atmosphere cushioned on prior success.

Shortly after MAMMA MIA! re-opened at the Barter I returned to FOOTLOOSE in Barter’s rehearsal halls but 13 years past my directing FOOTLOOSE for Plays-In-The-Park. The show was known territory to me. Unlike with MAMMA MIA!, FOOTLOOSE was a yet to be charted journey for my colleagues. If we were to be successful I had to re-align my thinking that what was once FOOTLOOSE for me must be kept in its place of my history. There’s a new cast. Different design team. Different creative team. Fresh input from colleagues for whom everything is discovery. Through their exploration what I thought I knew of my yesterday FOOTLOOSE matured with each new day of this today’s FOOTLOOSE. What could only be Barter Theatre’s FOOTLOOSE which broke the box-office records that MAMMA MIA! shattered. And should a tomorrow’s FOOTLOOSE come I hope to grow smarter than I was yesterday, and the day before. But without the success of my first FOOTLOOSE thanks to an energentic cast and company there wouldn't be this FOOTLOOSE. Thank you PIP FOOTLOOSE.

FOOTLOOSE - Behind the Scenes, Barter Theatre

FOOTLOOSE - Trailer, Barter Theatre

Director's program notes...


Love. Loss. Fear. Insecurity. Growth. Acceptance. Renewal

By my 17th year my family had moved nearly as many times as I had had birthday candles. Always, I was the outsider to every new school and community. One uprooting planted my family in a rural town in which my school had been plopped in the middle of a cow pasture. During spring classes herd members would poke their heads into open schoolroom windows. The peeping Bessies were welcomed. I, as an outsider, wasn’t. To be considered a local of Blairstown your family had to have been an original settler who farmed the rolling hills of the hamlet. With each move friends and home were lost. The foundation for who I was—transformed.

Not until I first directed FOOTLOOSE a dozen years ago did I realize that in these unfamiliar towns like Blairstown my presence also brought a change to my new neighbors and classmates. In FOOTLOOSE’s main character Ren, the outsider, I saw reflections of my past self. And within the residents of FOOTLOOSE’s Bomont were reflections of my Blairstown neighbors. Each of us strangers approaching the other with firm convictions. But in getting to know the other, there was a rejuvenation.

Change fosters growth. Even a variation we may perceive as a negative, from that shift positive results can follow—if we allow ourselves to embrace an undoubtable hope for renewal. FOOTLOOSE, while tuneful with iconic 80s music, the story itself is not a simplistic bubble gum confection about a ban on dancing. It’s a journey of self-awareness during change. A transformative tale of how people of firm convictions come to each, and then discover themselves anew.






Barter Theatre:


Sound Design: Tony Angelini; Lighting Design: Andy Morehouse; Costumes, Lee Martin, Properties: Helen Stratakes Set Design: Derek Smith; Projections; Paul Russell / Derek Smith; Asst. Stage Manager: Victoria Sutton; Stage Manager: Cindi Raebel; Musical Director: Lee Harris; Assistant Choreographer: Ashley Campos; Choreographer: Amanda Aldridge; Director: Paul Russell; Producing Artistic Director: Ricahrd Rose


Ren: Joe Veale; Ariel: Sarah Laughlin; Rev. Moore: Nick Piper; Vi Moore: Hannah Ingram; Ethel McCormick: Paris Bradstreet; Willard: Josh Levinson; Chuck:Justin Tyler Lewis; Rusty: Hope Quinn; Urleen: Jenna Haimesi; Wendy Jo: Annie Simpson; Wes: David Alford; Lulu: Angie Fischer; Eleanor: Katherine Lyle; Coach Dunbar: RIck McVey; Betty Blast: Hannah Ingram; Principal Clark: Michael Poisson; Irene: Robyn Bloom

Company: Andrew Livingston, Brandy Drzymkowski, Sean Campos, Sarah VanDuessen, James Hedley, Zacchaeus Kimbreall, Barrett Guyton, Rusty Allen, Jeff Sundheim, Ryan Featherstone, and Jeff Sundheim



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