|The cast of XANADU, the musical comedy by Douglas Carter Beane,|
with music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. Photo by Gerry Goodstein.
Based on the 1980 movie flop of the same name, Xanadu tells the story of seven sisterly Greek Muses who appear in Venice Beach, California to save and inspire the soul of a failed artist named Sonny. Led by the youngest of the group, Clio, who in her humanly form transforms into an Australian named Kira (the movie starred Australian Olivia Newton-John), the band of merry conspirators help Sonny fulfill his artistic vision by opening a multi-media performance space that would also include a roller disco. Yes, a roller disco. With a mirrored disco ball. Remember, this is 1980. Throw in some evil shenanigans by two of the sisterly Muses, the collusion of an aged real estate mogul who, down deep, wants to just make music and, of course, the forbidden love between Sonny and Kira, and you have the whole whacked out scenario.
Book writer Douglas Carter Beane has crafted a lighthearted book based on the aforementioned film. His goal is nothing short of giving the audience an off-the-wall spectacle that puts a smile on everyone’s faces. He succeeds completely.
|Steve Hayes (Calliope/Aphrodite) and Ariana Shore (Melpomene/Medusa) |
are evil women in XANADU. Photo by Gerry Goodstein.
Director Vincent Cardinal keeps the pulsating action flowing so effortlessly that the one and one-half hours of intermission less daftness breezily and carelessly flies by. He allows the actors room for playfulness, which Steve Hayes gladly accepts. Choreographer Cassie Abate adds a nice mix of disco inflected moves for the actors. Costume Designer Lisa Loen deserves a special note for her whimsical creations—Centaur and Cyclops—that appear towards the end of the production.
Xanadu, something out of the ordinary from your more traditional Broadway musical, dispensing a satisfying dollop of sustained and entertaining silliness. Now through July 19th at the Connecticut Repertory Theater in Storrs.