Choreography and a terrific set of songs keep “Footloose,” both the 1984 film and the musical, from sinking despite its thin, predictable and ultimately silly plot. The current run of the show at the Eldorado is proving popular and memorable.
Joshua Schwartz as Ren McCormack, a Chicago teen transplanted to a small town, has no difficulty in an exuberant effort. He is matched note by note, and eventually – after those dance lessons in a country-western saloon – step by step by Chris Tuck as his friend Willard, in the most winning performance of the evening.
Even though this show is a bit spare when it comes to sets and cast, everybody carries it off. Even the most stereotypical roles – a haunted and severe reverend, a devoted and ignored wife, a trailer-trash kid, a girl breaking out of her limited life – are made exhilarating. Let’s hear it for the boy, yes, but let’s hear it for all the rest of the town, too. The audience knows where this show is heading every step of the way, and it is more than happy to join in the journey.
“Footloose” was far more successful as a movie than it was as a Broadway musical (709 performances, not bad, if not great), but the Eldorado knows it is near perfect as midwinter entertainment – fast-paced, familiar (just try getting the theme song out of your head) and joyous. (7 p.m. Sundays, Tuesdays through Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Sundays; $26.95-$41.95; eldoradoreno.com)
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Jefferson Airplane was one of the first rock-and-roll bands to break into traditional casino showrooms in the 1970s, popping up at the Sahara Tahoe with the great Grace Slick. Its successor, Jefferson Starship, is at Harrah’s Tahoe on Saturday, Feb. 20. (7:30 p.m.; $40.36; Ticketmaster)
A new face on the casino stages hereabouts is Noel Torres of “Al Frente y de Frente.” He performs at Cache Creek on Friday, Feb. 19. (9 p.m.; $30 general admission, $55 reserved; cachecreek.com)
Even though it’s February, announcements are beginning to come in regarding the area’s outdoor summer series, which are known to sell out quickly. This week brings news that Sting teams with Peter Gabriel on Friday, July 15 ($97.56-$277.95), and Keith Urban on Friday, July 29, ($69.50-$125.50), both at Harveys Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena. (Ticketmaster or apeconcerts.com)