i recently saw the stage musical version of the classic xanadu. all the posters of the broadway version are terrible so i had to use one from the original.
like so many people i have fondness in my heart for the rollertopiasplotation xanadu. i was skeptical when i heard about a broadway version, yet still very intrigued. i used the national tour stop at the paramount in seattle as a good excuse to get me back up there for a weekend, plus i would be going with rachelle and audrey, a guaranteed good time.
for those who don’ t know, xanadu is the story of an artist, sonny, that wants to do something with his life. out of nowhere a greek muse arrives and inspires him to open a roller disco. the original movie is campy and fun, the stage version is another story. it had moments of greatness, but on the whole was kind of a mess. its a pretty simple story to begin with, the musical makes it simpler, by omitting the artist’s back story altogether. that was a big mistake, i couldn’t really get behind sonny, i never got his motivation. because of terrible sound issues i couldn’t make out a lot of what was sung or said. the vocals just weren’t turned up enough. my last complaint is about the stage. someone thought it would be a great idea to only use about 40% of the stage. the set was a greek inspired roller rink. and around the rink sat audience members. sometimes this kind of set up can work, spring awakening pulled off a classroom and bleachers set, for xanadu it seemed so small. when they would wheel out props to insinuate other locations it just didn’t work. for the price of broadway musicals, you just expect a lot more. oh yeah, there wasn’t enough rollerskating.
what xanadu the musical does have going for it is that it is a real fun time. the songs are punchy and the numbers are done with zeal and a big toothy grin. by the time the disco balls are lowered you’re cheering, you come out pretty happy.
i think xanadu would work better converted to an opera and performed off broadway or in nightclubs. i still can’t pin down a solid feeling about xandu the musical, i would recommend it to a few specific people.