Saturday, November 2, 2013

Village Theatre’s ‘Xanadu’ is a Silly Tribute to the 1980’s

Dane Stokinger and Jessica Skerritt. Photo: Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre


Those of us old enough remember the big musical that arrived in theaters in 1980 featuring Olivia Newton John, screen legend Gene Kelly and music by the Electric Light Orchestra, (ELO). With the success of “Grease” years before, it seemed destiny that another musical film featuring Newton John would be a shoe in. While “Xanadu” had all the right people involved, it was missing a plot or at least a cohesive storyline. The movie just barely paid the bills during its initial run. Ironically though, the soundtrack was hugely successful with six hits, meaning that more people are familiar with the music from the movie than the movie itself.

So, when it was announced that a new Broadway musical was being created based on “Xanadu,” there was much skepticism. Who would want to do a show based on a huge flop? Douglas Carter Beane. He took this failed movie and let it inspire him to create a “bad” stage show on purpose. The result is one crazy and enjoyable ride. Characters run up and down the aisles, there is audience participation in performing a love spell, it is chock full of 80’s references and there is dance party at the end. 

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