It is like 1970s/1980s all over again! With all the bad news of 70s disco stars passing away like Donna Summer and Robin Gibb, it is nice to remember that era with Xanadu. So for all you young bucks, what is Xanadu?
Xanadu was originally a movie starring Olivia Newton-John that was turned into a hit Broadway show. Newton-John’s character, Kira or the muse Clio, comes to life from a painting drawn by down on his luck artist Sonny Malone in Venice, California. Clio is one of the seven muses that springs to life from his drawing. A muse is one that inspires the arts. Kira, played by Erin Weaver in the Signature Theatre’s version of Xanadu, inspires Sonny Malone, played by Charlie Brady, to build a roller disco in Venice, CA. Kira cannot fall in love as it is against the God Zeus’ law and punishable by damnation. She disguises herself by changing her name to Kira from her muse name Clio, wearing roller skates, adopting an Australian accent, and wearing leg warmers. However, a couple of Kira’s fellow jealous muses conspire by placing a curse on Kira to make her fall in love with Sonny Malone. Xanadu is where the muses aspire to be, sort of like Heaven, after they have done their good deeds on earth. A little bit of trivia is: Xanadu refers to the poem Kubla Khan and is the name of the Chinese province where Khan establishes his pleasure garden in the poem.
Signature’s adaptation of the movie and Broadway play is spot on and so much fun! This is the Washington premiere of Xanadu. Upon arriving to the theatre all theatre goers are handed glow sticks that wrap around their wrists. It is super groovy to see all the glow sticks through out the darkened theatre. This show has something for everyone. The music is probably the best thing of this campy musical. It performs Olivia Newton-John’s hits, with help from the Electric Light Orchestra, “Xanadu” and “Magic.” In addition, two other muses, Sherri L. Edelen and Nova Y. Payton playing Calliope and Melpomene, sing Electric Light Orchestra’s song “Evil Women” brilliantly with great comedic chops as they case the love spell on Kira/Clio. Edelen and Payton were last seen in Signature’s “Hairspray” and have AMAZING voices! The lead who plays Kira is wonderful. Her voice is mellifluous and she has great comedic timing. She seems like she is having a great time. I’m not sure how she holds on to her fake Australian accent the whole time, but she does a great job of it while roller skating.
Underlining the whole show is a serious message it seems about how having Art in the community is important. The character Sunny Malone seems to represent Art and he comes across really goofy. I overheard one theatre goer complaining to one of the actresses from the show that he should be more of a stronger character and less goofy because Art is important. Having not seen the movie, I’m not sure if that is how he was supposed to be played or not, so that’s up for debate, but the actor portraying Sonny, has a great voice and is not bad to look at.
If you are looking for a fun show that has an extremely talented cast, great music, dancing on roller skates and a fun story line, go see Xanadu!!
- Book by Douglas Carter Beane
- Music & Lyrics by Jeff Lynne & John Farrar
- Based on the 1980 Universal Pictures film
- Directed & Choreographed by Matthew Gardiner
WHEN: Through July 1, 2012
Tuesday & Wednesday at 7:30 p.m
Thursday & Friday at 8 p.m
Saturday at 2 p.m & 8 p.m
Sunday at 2 p.m & 7 p.m
WHERE: Signature Theatre
4200 Campbell Avenue
Arlington, VA 22206
TICKETS: Please click here to purchase tickets, or by phone at 703-820-9771. $30 rush tickets are sold one hour prior to every performance on a first-come, first-served basis, two per person. Subject to availability.