Some movies almost beg to be satirized. For example, "Xanadu," the 1980 cult favorite that starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly. But for sheer joy and escapism, Drury Lane’s high voltage production of Broadway’s 2007 surprise sensation hits all the right notes. Douglas Carter Beane’s witty script both borrows from and lampoons a film that endures largely because of its infectious Electric Light Orchestra score. Indeed, the stage version includes most of the film’s Jeff Lynne/John Farrar soundtrack, showcasing hits like “I’m Alive,” “All Over the World” and “Evil Woman.” And, if the score isn’t enough to reignite the fun of the ’80’s, the leg warmers, big hair, neon colored spandex, glitter makeup, mirror balls and roller disco dancing will remind audiences of that bygone era.
Talented director/choreographer Rachel Rockwell, ably assisted by Amber Mak and Roberta Duchak’s top-notch musical direction, has created a vibrantly pulsating entertainment that showcases our need for creative expression and love. And these talented artists, supported by Ben Johnson’s 4-member musical accompaniment, Kevin Depinet’s, Mike Tutaj’s and Jesse Klug’s scenic and lighting designs and Erika Senase’s sensational costumes, have fashioned a blindingly entertaining world that almost spills over the footlights and into the aisles.
Once again, casting is everything, and Gina Milo is delightfully pixie-like in the Olivia Newton-John role of Clio/Kira , a Greek muse fallen to earth. Sporting a comically broad Australian accent, Milo nicely complements Chris Critelli’s California surfer-sidewalk artist, Sonny. Both sing the glitter out of songs like “Don’t Walk Away” and “Suspended in Time.” Gene Weygandt’s Danny, the property developer Gene Kelly played in the film, is funny yet touching while longing for his lost youth. Christine Sherrill and Nancy Voigts play Clio’s villainous Muse sisters with relish. And, except for some sketchy roller dancing, this production is absolutely pure “Magic.”