Ah, Xanadu. No, not Charles Foster Kane's resort home or the place where Kubla Khan decreed his stately pleasure dome a la Samuel Coleridge. "Xanadu," as in the cheesy, big-budget 1980 disco roller-skating rock musical, which starred Olivia Newton-John and dance legend Gene Kelly.
Adapted from the movie and directed by recent Yale graduate Annie Dorsen, Xanadu Live! ends its world premiere run at Los Angeles' Gascon Theatre Nov. 11. All proceeds from the show will go to benefit breast cancer research and Equity Actors Fight AIDS.
The film version of "Xanadu" featured Australian singer and actress Olivia Newton-John as Kira, a Greek muse who returns to earth to inspire young musician Sonny Malone. With his divine idea, Malone approaches Danny McGuire (played by Kelly in the film), once touched by Kira himself, to build a giant roller disco rink. The film's songs, penned by Newton-John, Jeff Lynne and Electric Light Orchestra, include "You Made Me Love You," "All Over the World," "Fool Country," "Suddenly," "I'm Alive," "Don't Walk Away" and the number one hit, "Magic."
Xanadu Live! had a reading at the 2000 Williamstown Theatre Festival, where the Los Angeles show's producers Amy Pietz ("Caroline in the City") and Kenneth Alan Williams caught it. At Yale, Dorsen also adapted another Newton-John related project, a stage version of "Grease 2," the sequel to "Grease," which featured Newton-John's breakout role as good-girl-turned-bad-girl, Sandy.
Xanadu Live! began performances Oct. 11. Tickets are available by calling (310) 289-2999. The Gascon Theater is located at 8737 Washington Boulevard. Xanadu Live! is on the web at http://www.XANADULIVE.com. — By Christine Ehren