An 80s-inspired interview with Footloose lead actor Paul Hanson
People love the 80s.
We see it in the resurgence of off-the-shoulder shirts, leggings and massive amounts of chunky jewelry. We see it in the public obsession of 1980s music and the lasting presence and influence of culture icons from the era. We even see it in the results of last year’s voter poll at the Omaha Community Playhouse when patrons were asked to vote for the musicals they would most like to see and Footloose, The Musical came out on top.
We just can’t get enough of the 80s! Neither can lead actor Paul Hanson…even though he wasn’t alive for the majority of the decade. When the movie Footloose came out in 1984, Paul, who is playing lead character Ren, wasn’t even born yet.
That doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to cut footloose, though. With radio stations dedicated to the 80s and the likelihood of not hearing the Kenny Loggins song Footloose at a wedding reception being slim to none, this young actor is a super fan of the era and the music.
“I absolutely love the music,” said Paul. “I can only remember watching the movie once or twice when I was little, so I don't really remember it much, but I do remember the songs. Footloose and Holding out for a Hero, I can always remember them being on the radio. Both songs have an infectious beat to them that you can't help but tap your feet or just get up and groove to.”
Even though Paul and his character Ren grew up in different eras, Paul can still relate to his character. “I've kind of always connected with Ren,” said Paul. “I can't stand still. I am always on the go. I love dancing. I love the way it makes you feel and I love the journey and strength that Ren has.”
Although Paul is right at home in the 80s, the Omaha Community Playhouse has had to develop into a home for him. This is Paul’s first performance at the Playhouse, but probably won’t be his last. “This has been such a great experience here at the Playhouse already!” said Paul. “I have loved working with everyone. It is so great that Omaha has a theatre on the professional level. I see all the pieces coming together so quickly, the anticipation is growing! I'm very excited to part of this theatre family.”
See this young star and the rest of the talented cast shine in Footloose, The Musical, Sept. 17–Oct. 17 in the Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre. To order tickets, visit the Box Office, call (402) 553-0800 or visit www.omahaplayhouse.org.