Xanadu Breaks Helen Hayes Box-Office Record

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12 Jul 2007

Kerry Butler and Cheyenne Jackson in <i>Xanadu</i>.
Kerry Butler and Cheyenne Jackson in Xanadu.
Photo by Peter Lueders/Paul Kolnik Studio

On July 11, the day after the new musical Xanadu opened to extremely positive reviews in both the New York Times and Variety, the musical broke a box-office record at the Helen Hayes Theatre.

Variety reports that the new musical, based on the 1980 flop film of the same name, took in $150,000 at the box office that day. Not a record-breaking sum for most theatres, but the intimate Helen Hayes seats only 579.

It was a long road to opening night for the production, which was embraced by many critics and has audiences cheering nightly. The July 11 performance, in fact, was sold out.

Xanadu began previews May 23, co-starring Kerry Butler as Kira and James Carpinello as Sonny, the roles originated on screen by, respectively, Olivia Newton-John and Michael Beck. On June 12 Carpinello injured his foot while roller skating during a rehearsal; two days later, it was announced that Cheyenne Jackson — who starred in the Elvis Presley-inspired musical All Shook Up — would temporarily replace Carpinello, who plans to return to the show at some point. It is Jackson, however, who opened the show.

Butler and Jackson are joined onstage by 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. (Actress Miller sustained a minor ankle injury during previews, but she is now back in the production — currently singing back-up vocals until she recovers fully; her role is temporarily being played by Patti Murin.)



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."

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.