IF YOU GO

What: Footloose

When: 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 2

Where: Lion s Wilderness Park Amphitheater, 5800 College Blvd. in Farmington

Tickets: $12 for adults, $7 for children

More info: fmtn.org.

FARMINGTON — Once again, Sandstone Productions is bringing a classic musical to Farmington this summer

Ashley Cooper stars as Ariel in this year's production, "Footloose," which starts today at Lion's Wilderness Park.

"Ariel is relatable," Cooper said. "She went through a really hard time, a tragedy, when her brother died."

Because of that, Ariel lashes out, seeking attention mainly from her dad.

"It was just her trying to deal with her grief," Cooper said.

Cooper first watched the movie "Footloose" starring Kevin Bacon when she was 8. She said she loved seeing Bacon's dance scenes, partially because she was also a dancer.

"I just love the story about how a town is suppressed and they're not able to create and express themselves," she said.

The cast of Footloose perform a song and dance routine on June 12 during rehearsal for Sandstone Productions version of Footloose at the Lions Wilderness
The cast of Footloose perform a song and dance routine on June 12 during rehearsal for Sandstone Productions version of Footloose at the Lions Wilderness Amphitheater in Farmington. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)

She said she likes how the young people fight for the chance to dance.

"I think about if dance wasn't in my life," she said.

She said she doesn't think she'd be who she is today if it weren't for dance.

"Dance taught me how to have stage presence," Cooper said.

This stage presence has enabled Cooper to talk to people and do well in interviews, she said.

Cooper is joined on stage by Paul Stewart III, who plays Ren McCormack, Bacon's role in the 1984 movie.

"I've watched the movie a thousand times," Stewart said.

He described Ren McCormack as "an iconic role."

Stewart played Kenickie in last year's production of "Grease."

He said when he returned to Lion's Wilderness Amphitheater, it was hard to transition from Kenickie to McCormack.

"It was hard getting out of Kenickie," he said.

However, Stewart said he "found Ren pretty quickly."

Theresa Carson, who directed "Grease" last year, is returning as the director for this year's summer musical.

She said the musical was chosen because it's family friendly and this year is the 30th anniversary of the classic movie.

Carson did not originally see the movie when it came out 30 years ago. However, when she saw it a few years later, she said she loved it.

"It deals with family relationships and around the joy of dancing," she said.

Carson expects the musical to be popular among Farmington residents.

"It's what I call a timeless story," she said.

She said she thinks everyone can relate to at least one part of it because everyone has family issues and deals with self-esteem.

"It's about forgiveness, tolerance and overcoming our fears," Carson said. "I think we all have fears."

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.