Mt. Prospect native coming back a 'Footloose' star
A Mount Prospect native and 2002 graduate of Prospect High School is returning to the Chicago area as a member of the cast of a national tour of "Footloose."
Jeff Blim, the son of Cindy and Robert Blim of Mount Prospect, will perform the role of Chuck Cranston in the show, performed at 3 and 8 p.m., Saturday, March 21 and 2 p.m., Sunday, March 22 at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora.
Blim is one of the three main male leads and "a very strong character actor," according to Denise S. Trupe of the Prather Entertainment Group, the show's producer. He also is the understudy for the lead role of Ren McCormick.
This dance show in the tradition of "Grease," "Flashdance" and "Dirty Dancing" made its debut on the screen in the 1980s with Kevin Bacon as Ren, who moves to a small farming town with his mother after spending most of his life in Chicago. He immediately bucks the local rules against dancing and sets the town on its ear.
After leaving Prospect High School, Blim studied theater performance and jazz trumpet at the University of Michigan, earning dual bachelors of fine arts degrees.
Since then he has acted in regional theater ranging from "The Wedding Singer" and "All Shook Up" at The Palace Theatre in Manchester, N.H. to "Zorro" and "Footloose" at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre in Lancaster, PA and "South Pacific" at the Heritage Repertory Theater in Charlottesville, VA.
"This is my first national tour and it is exhausting," Blim admitted in a recent e-mail. "We rarely stay in one place for longer than one night and I lose track of where we are and what day it is. That said, I get a kick out of the nomadic lifestyle."
While at Prospect High School Blim was active in the marching band, show choir, and jazz band. He also acted in the school's musicals.
"My dad is a band director in Wilmette and so I naturally starting playing the trumpet when I was in 4th grade," he recalled. "The trumpet was my main focus all the way into college, but I acted in all the musicals and made movies with my friends along the way."
"My fondest memories are of winning regional musical competitions, the smell of the exhaust from the coach buses and staying up to odd hours with my friends editing movie documentaries of these experiences," he said.
After graduation he went to the University of Michigan on a jazz trumpet scholarship but quickly realized he missed acting and singing.
"So I got into the theater department and double-majored, still playing trumpet all the while. And then I moved to New York and started auditioning. It was all a very natural progression sparked by my dad," Blim explained.
Some day Blim said he would love to act in movies and plans to give Hollywood a try when he feels the time is right. Currently he is writing a musical that he hopes to workshop in New York in the near future.
"But right now, I'm gonna see how long I can pass as a musical theater actor," he quipped.
Tickets for "Footloose" range from $30.50 to $55.50 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster, by phone at (630) 896-6666 or at the Paramount box office. Log onto www.theparamounttheatre.com.