"Permission to Let Loose" in YMM Magazine
Footloose the Musical was featured in the January 2017 issue of Your McMurray Magazine in an article named "Permission to Let Loose - How Community Theatre Changes Lives" by Hanna Fridhed.
This February the Keyano Theatre Company invites us to the town of Bomont, a place where dancing has been banned, as they present Footloose The Musical. The show features the largest cast to take the main stage since the 2014 successful musical Les Misérables, and in this cast we find Jennifer Stephenson.
Jennifer plays Ethel McCormack, the mother of the rebellious protagonist Ren, and it’s a part she easily identifies with. “Ethel’s husband has left her and she is now a single mom to a teenage son,” explains Jennifer. “I became a single mother to my son Josh when he was sixteen. I know what she feels when she sees her son struggling with the changes in his life and how she is trying to figure out how to help him.”
As she was sitting in the audience of another Keyano Theatre musical a few years ago, she started entertaining the idea of getting on stage herself. “While I was sitting in the theatre singing along to all of the songs, I couldn’t help but to be jealous,” Jennifer remembers. “I felt like I should have been up on that stage singing all of those songs too! When I heard that Les Misérables was the musical for the next season I started turning the idea over in my head and wondering if I could really do it.”
This one idea, hatched in the dimmed lights of the theatre, came to have a great impact on her life. “When I decided to audition for Les Misérables, my husband and I had just separated. A month or so before I auditioned, he passed away” she explains. “My daughter Rhiannon was eight at the time and she was in the cast as well. Being a part of that production made a huge difference in our lives. Community theatre to me is a form of therapy. It has helped me deal with huge life changes and helped me meet people that I would never have met otherwise and who have turned into great friends. It has increased my self-confidence, introduced me to live theatre and helped me grow as a person."