Butler, Tudyk, Kind, Golden, Huffman Cast in Reading of Musical Xanadu

By Andrew Gans
18 Apr 2006

Kerry Butler will take part in the Xanadu reading
Kerry Butler will take part in the Xanadu reading

Playbill.com has learned that a first reading of the new musical Xanadu — based on the 1980 film of the same name — will be presented April 21 in Manhattan.

The reading, which is by-invitation-only for Drama Dept. subscribers, will feature Kerry Butler as Kira, the role created on screen by Olivia Newton-John, with Alan Tudyk as her leading man and Richard Kind as Danny, the role played by Gene Kelly in the cult classic film.

As previously announced, Douglas Carter Beane, whose acclaimed play The Little Dog Laughed is headed to Broadway next season, will pen the book for the production, which is being produced by Robert Ahrens. The musical will utilize songs from the movie's soundtrack.

Playwright Beane told Playbill.com that Xanadu "uses the movie as a springboard for a musical comedy about creativity and mortality." In Xanadu, Kira (Butler) is a muse sent to earth. There are eight other muses who arrive, says Beane, "[ready] to create havoc in early eighties America. . . . Other characters from the eighties in the show include Nancy Reagan, Aaron Spelling, Twyla Tharp and Tammy Faye Bakker."



The muses in the upcoming reading will include 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.

All Shook Up's Christopher Ashley will direct the reading, which will feature musical direction by Lynn Shankel and stage management by Adam Grosswirth.

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.

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.

Alan Tudyk was recently seen on Broadway in the Tony-winning musical Spamalot. His other stage credits include Epic Proportions, Wonder of the World, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Misalliance, Oedipus and Bunny Bunny. On screen Tudyk appeared in "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," "28 Days," "A Knight's Tale," "Wonder Boys," "Patch Adams," "Ice Age" and as the robot Sonny in "I, Robot" and TV's "Arrested Development," "Frasier" and "Strangers with Candy."

Richard Kind has been seen on Broadway in The Producers, Sly Fox and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife. His other theatrical credits include Bounce, Rough Crossing, Once in a Lifetime, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Big Knife, Accomplice, Power Failure, The Seagull, Perfect and Gravity Shoes. Among his film and television credits are "Spin City," "Mad About You," "Scrubs," "Still Standing," "Just Shoot Me," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," "Quicksand," "Stargate," "Clifford" and "Mr. Saturday Night."

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.