Sunday, May 13, 2012

XANADU SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavillion at the BCA, thru June 9, 2012

Irreverent and self-referential: that's as academic as I'll get in describing the sweet and silly spoof of the 80s "Razzie" winning movie musical XANADU. 
Book writer Douglas Carter Bean takes the screenplay and turns it into a framework that SpeakEasy director Paul Daigneault 's ebullient cast uses to take us on a roller-skating ride through a score that includes Magic, Evil Woman, and the title song Xanadu. It's the pure solid gold talent of this ensemble that had me laughing almost non-stop for the 90 minute story of Muses, Demi-Gods and Roller-Skating Disco-Dreams. 
While I enjoyed the Broadway production, which received Tony nominations for Best Musical and Best Book in 2007, XANADU was practically screaming out for this earnest "small theater" production that makes the most of its limitations, turning them into it's clever and entertaining assets. 
Without reservation, each one of the nine cast members delivers: McCaela Donovan 's Olivia Newton John Demi-Goddess, Ryan Overberg 's hunky artist/discopreneur, Robert Saoud's power-businessman haunted by a Muse in his past, and the double and triple cast turns from Shana Dirik, Kathy St. George, Kami Rushell Smith, Val Sullivan, Cheo Bourne, and Patrick Connolly. If you're thinking "why see a terrible movie musical on stage", forget about the movie and see if for the cast, the powerhouse trio of musicians, the creative period and fantasy costumes by Gail Astrid Buckley, Crystal Tiala's circular set that puts the audience on three sides, Karen Perlow's lighting, and the biggest disco ball in town.

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