Jackson Assumes Lead Role in Xanadu; Carpinello Will Not Return

News   Jackson Assumes Lead Role in Xanadu; Carpinello Will Not Return James Carpinello, who was injured during a rehearsal while the new musical Xanadu was in previews, will not return to that production at the Helen Hayes Theatre.

Cheyenne Jackson returns to Xanadu.
Cheyenne Jackson returns to Xanadu. Photo by Peter Lueders/Paul Kolnik Studio

Cheyenne Jackson, who temporarily assumed the role of Sonny after Carpinello's injury, will continue in the role permanently, according to a statement from the show's producer, Robert Ahrens.

Ahrens acknowledged Carpinello's contribution to the musical, which is based on the film of the same name, saying, "We hope to work with James in the future on one of the international productions of the show." The producer, the statement continues, praised Jackson for stepping into the role on such short notice and for his performance.

Jackson, who has been out of the show filming a pilot for Lifetime, is scheduled to return to the cast Oct. 6.

Carpinello injured his foot while roller skating during a June 12 rehearsal. Jackson, who starred in a workshop of Xanadu, stepped into the role of Sonny June 21. In a statement at that time Jackson said, "I'm excited to join the cast of Xanadu while James Carpinello recovers — my heart goes out to him, as he spent months working on this project, only to be injured so close to opening night. I am honored to borrow his skates. I owe a lot to (director) Christopher Ashley & (writer) Douglas Carter Beane and would gladly paint their apartments if they called and asked."

Xanadu also features Kerry Butler as Kira, Tony Roberts as Danny Maguire/Zeus, Curtis Holbrook as Thalia, Anika Larsen as Euterpe, Kenita Miller as Erato, Mary Testa as Melpomene/Medusa, Jackie Hoffman as Calliope/Aphrodite, André Ward as Terpsicore and Marty Thomas as a Featured Skater. Directed by Christopher Ashley, Xanadu features choreography by Dan Knechtges and musical direction and arrangements by Eric Stern. The design team includes David Gallo (scenic design), Howell Binkley (lighting design), David Zinn (costume design), T. Richard Fitzgerald and Carl Casella (sound design), Zachary Borovay (projections design) and Charles LePoint (wig and hair design). John Miller is music coordinator.

Xanadu boasts a book by Little Dog Laughed playwright Douglas Carter Beane — a 2007 Tony Award nominee — and utilizes songs from John Farrar and Jeff Lynne's film soundtrack. The musical, according to press notes, "tells the story of one of the nine muses of ancient Greece who comes to earth to inspire the greatest of artistic achievements – a roller disco. Along the way she falls in love, bumps into an old acquaintance and for the first time, feels the desire to create herself."

Xanadu, which is performed without an intermission, features the songs "I'm Alive," "Magic," "Evil Woman," "Suddenly," "Whenever You're Away From Me," "Dancin'," "Strange Music," "All Over the World," "Don't Walk Away," "Fool," "The Fall," "Suspended in Time," "Have You Never Been Mellow?" and "Xanadu."

The 1980 film "Xanadu" was written by Richard Christian Danus and Marc Reid Rubel and was directed by Robert Greenwald.

The performance schedule is Tuesday-Saturday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 PM and Sunday at 3 PM.

The Helen Hayes Theatre is located in Manhattan at 240 West 44th Street.

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