Although Jane Krakowski had been featured in the most recent workshops of the musical, it was Butler who created the role of Kira in the first Xanadu reading. Lead producer Robert Ahrens said in a statement, "Kerry Butler was our first choice and we are thrilled that her schedule has now opened up to join our production."
Directed by Christopher Ashley, the musical will officially open June 26, making the show ineligible for this year's Tony Award nominations.
Xanadu features a book by Little Dog Laughed playwright Douglas Carter Beane and utilizes songs from John Farrar and Jeff Lynne's film soundtrack. Additional casting and ticket information will be announced at a later date.
Kerry Butler was most recently on Broadway as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. She portrayed Penny Pingleton in the original Broadway cast of Hairspray, and her other Broadway credits include Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Eponine in Les Misérables and Ms. Jones in Blood Brothers. Off-Broadway she was seen in Bat Boy The Musical, The "I" Word, Prodigal and The Folsom Head. She was also part of the cast of the new musical The Opposite of Sex, which premiered in San Francisco.
Xanadu, according to a recent casting notice, centers on "Kira, a Greek muse sent to Earth to inspire mortals and artists in Venice, CA, in the 1980's. While on earth, Kira falls in love with an artist when helping him realize his dreams." The 1980 film "Xanadu" was written by Richard Christian Danus and Marc Reid Rubel and was directed by Robert Greenwald. Described as "a fantasy, a musical, a place where dreams come true," the film starred Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly, Michael Beck, James Sloyan, Dimitra Arliss, Katie Hanley, Fred McCarren and Ren Woods. Jeff Lynne and John Farrar composed the film's score.
The Helen Hayes Theatre is located in Manhattan at 240 West 44th Street.