Get Loose

Eric Thompson Takes the Lead in Footloose


At Victoria Theater in downtown Dayton, senior Eric Thompson points to a poster featuring himself as “Ren.”

D.J. Hudson, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

In the weeks leading up to the three-week-long Winter Break, most students were doing last-minute holiday shopping or studying for midterms. Senior Eric Thompson, however, was playing the lead role of “Ren” in Dare to Defy’s production of Footloose at the Victoria Theater in downtown Dayton.

“I was in a play called Carousel and the stage manager recommended me for this role,” said Thompson. “Her husband was the director of Footloose.”

Thompson has performed in nearly 20 stage productions. His first role was at the age of 8 in a church play.

“It was definitely the most fun I’ve had with a role. I won’t be able to top that in a while,” said Thompson, who has been in the Northmont school district since kindergarten, and has performed in each Northmont High School musical since he was a freshman.

Thompson began singing at the age of 4, however he has only been dancing for a few months.

“I actually learned all my music and all my lines before the rehearsal process began, so I could focus on dancing,” said Thompson.

The senior said the biggest struggle was loosening up and understanding what was expected from some of the dance moves.

“I felt like a mom watching my own child on the stage. Knowing Eric as a student, I was almost giddy with excitement to see him,” said Thompson’s language arts teacher Ms. Michele Morvatz, who attended the performance at The Victoria.

The original Footloose was released on film in 1984 staring Kevin Bacon. It was repackaged in 1998 for Broadway and remade as a movie in 2011.

“It was really cool (seeing Eric) because I had seen him in the school productions, with all my students but it was really neat to see him out in the ‘real world’ doing productions with different people and a big company. I had him his freshman year and seeing him grow and realize his dream is awesome,” said Spanish teacher Ms. Erin Hunkemoeller. “He would come in and practice with me. I read some lines with him to make sure he them memorized. It was fun because when I watched the play I would be like ‘oh I read that line with him.’ He has grown so much. He had to really work on his dancing. If you tell him he needs to do something he will go work on it hard and it shows.”

A complete review of the show is available at The Life Full of Cheese website.