Starry Cast Set for August Xanadu Reading

By Andrew Gans
17 Jul 2006

Jane Krakowski
Jane Krakowski
Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Playbill.com has learned that Tony Award winners Jane Krakowski and Ben Vereen as well as All Shook Up's Cheyenne Jackson will be part of an August reading of the new musical Xanadu.

Produced by Rob Ahrens, the Aug. 3 by-invitation-only reading of Xanadu — based on the 1980 film of the same name — will be held at the Drama Dept. Douglas Carter Beane, whose acclaimed play The Little Dog Laughed is headed to Broadway in the fall, has penned the book for the new musical.

Beane told Playbill.com that the forthcoming reading will feature Jane Krakowski as Kira, the role created on screen by Olivia Newton-John; Ben Vereen as Danny, the role originally played by Gene Kelly; Cheyenne Jackson as Sonny; Mary Testa as Melephone; Annie Golden as Calliope; Jai Rodriguez as Thalia; Leslie Kritzer as Terpsicore; Darius de Haas as Euterpe; and Angela Ai as Erato.

Christopher Ashley is directing the reading of Xanadu, which utilizes songs from the movie's soundtrack.



Playwright Beane previously told Playbill.com that Xanadu "uses the movie as a springboard for a musical comedy about creativity and mortality." In Xanadu, Kira (Krakowski) is a muse sent to earth. There are eight other muses who arrive, says Beane, "[ready] to create havoc in early eighties America."

"From the last reading," Beane now says, "I have been pushing it more into the wonderful worlds of Greek mythology and the early eighties. All of the eighties political figures have been cut."

Playwright Douglas Carter Beane is the author of The Little Dog Laughed, As Bees in Honey Drown, The Country Club, Music From a Sparkling Planet, Advice From a Caterpillar, White Lies and Devil May Care and Old Money. Director Christopher Ashley has directed All Shook Up, The Smell of the Kill, Voices in the Dark, Princesses, As Thousands Cheers, The Country Club, Rude Entertainment, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Jeffrey, Blown Sideways Through Life, Fires in the Mirror, Bunny Bunny and Das Barbecu.

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An April 21 reading of Xanadu featured Kerry Butler as Kira and Alan Tudyk as Danny with Billy Porter as Calliope, muse of epic drama; Annie Golden as Erato, muse of lyrics and erotic poetry; Jackie Hoffman as Euterpe, muse of music; Mary Testa as Melephone, muse of tragedy; Mary Bond Davis as Polyhmnia, muse of sacred music; Cady Huffman as Terpsicore, muse of dance; Amy Hohn as Thalia, muse of comedy; and Jonathan Freeman as Urania, muse of astrology.