Jacqueline LeBlanc grew up at Palm Canyon Theatre in Palm Springs.
She joined the community theater’s Kids Camp at the tender age of 8, and made her acting debut in a main-stage show when she was 12.
Thirteen years later, LeBlanc, 25, has two-stepped from child actor to choreographer, hoofing it with her fellow cast members for Palm Canyon’s upcoming run of Footloose. It opens July 8.
“There are people that I’ve known since I was little,” says LeBlanc. “They’ve been through all those shows with me, and we all get along. And we have a lot of new people coming in for this show, so it’s fun working with them and seeing all the new talent come through the desert.”
VIDEO: Hear from the cast on preparations for Footloose.
Using a script similar to the 1980s movie of the same name starring heartthrob Kevin Bacon, Footloose follows a charismatic teen whose family relocates to a small town where dancing is outlawed and free spirit is repressed. Bobby Burkich plays Ren McCormack in the Palm Canyon version, a bright-eyed millennial filling Bacon’s iconic lace-up sneakers.
Burkich’s character shakes things up, offering townsfolk newfound hope against a backdrop of musical chart-toppers like Let’s Hear It For The Boy, Holding Out For A Hero, and The Girl Gets Around.
“He’s a rebel with a cause,” says Burkich, “to give the citizens of Beaumont something to fight for, something to believe in.”
PHOTOS AND VIDEO BY EMILY CHAVOUS
Cast members of Palm Canyon Theatre’s upcoming production Footloose pose on stage during rehearsals.
Footloose is director Shafik Wahhab’s third curtain-raiser at Palm Canyon Theatre — earlier this season, he brought The Addams Family and Cabaret before the footlights. Wahhab aims to make his rendition of the Paramount Pictures tale a little more grown-up, adding extra dance numbers and songs. He expects everyone involved to bring a memorable closeout performance for the theater’s 19th season.
“I think the big message from this show is life sucks sometimes,” says Wahhab. “Just dance it off.”
Footloose, July 8-17, Palm Canyon Theatre, 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, 760-323-5123; www.palmcanyontheatre.org
Ren, played by Bobby Burkich, is outnumbered in this scene.