‘Xanadu’ rolls in to Village Theatre
September 10, 2013
By Peter Clark
Village Theatre will roll “Xanadu” into town beginning Sept. 12 in the first co-production with the Arizona Theatre Co.
Based loosely on the 1980’s, Olivia Newton John-led flop, “Xanadu” was rewritten for the stage as a musical in 2007. It follows the story of the muse Clio descending from Mount Olympus to inspire a struggling artist, Sonny, only to fall into a forbidden love.
The plan to stage a co-production between the Village Theatre and the Arizona Theatre Co. has been ongoing. Director David Ira Goldstein came up from Arizona to begin what will be a six-month run of the musical that will travel through four cities.
“I’ve had a really great relationship with the Village Theatre,” Goldstein said. “We’ve been talking about doing something together for while. ‘Xanadu’ came up and all of us had light bulbs that went up.”
He said he was delighted to share the adaptation with audiences and said it was not exactly the movie that people would expect.
“It’s very well-constructed. It’s not the cheese ball movie,” he said, praising the rewrite by Douglas Carter Beane, Jeff Lynne (formerly of the group Electric Light Orchestra) and John Farrar. “The movie was one of the most eagerly anticipated movies of its time, but the script was bad. The musical added plot, characters and conflict.”
One easily recognizable feature that carries over to the stage is the use of roller skates. Though the cast is a small group of nine, at least one number will require all of them to dance on skates. Jessica Skerrit, in the lead role of Kira, will have to wear them most of the show.
For choreographer Kathryn Van Meter, combining dancing with skating allowed a freedom that she found exciting.
During last year’s “Fiddler on the Roof” collaboration between her and Goldstein, Van Meter said he came up to her and asked, “Do you know how to roller-skate?”
She said as a child of the 1980s, the chance to incorporate that decade’s various styles of dance into the production was a thrill.
“I’m really excited,” she said, speaking highly of “the opportunity to put that all together in a really fun comedy.”
She said the largest hurdles did not come from crafting skating dances, but from working with such a small cast.
“It’s about making sure that each number is specific so the choreography doesn’t peak too early,” she said, adding she enjoyed the leeway she found in creating the movement. “I have had so much freedom stylistically where everything doesn’t have to be in a box. It’s a freer palette that I can pull from.”
Still, the production hasn’t been without a few slips, which is expected when working on wheels. Goldstein said they held auditions at Skate King in Bellevue and two people were mildly injured in the process.
Regardless, Goldstein and Van Meter said they believe Xanadu will delight the audience.
“We wanted the audience to be a part of the ride,” Goldstein said. “The audience will have a chance to relive their disco moves. We want their smiles.”
Van Meter encouraged local musical enthusiasts to see the production.
“Come and have an awesome, great time,” she said. “I think it will lift people’s spirits.”
The show runs in Issaquah from Sept. 12 to Oct. 20. It will then move on to Everett, followed by Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.
If you go
- Sept. 12 – Oct. 20
- Village Theatre
- 303 Front St. N.
- Get showtimes and tickets at www.villagetheatre.org.
- $39 to $55