Xanadu Makes West Coast Premiere at La Jolla Playhouse Prior to Tour

News   Xanadu Makes West Coast Premiere at La Jolla Playhouse Prior to Tour
Cry-Baby's Elizabeth Stanley plays roller-skating muse Kira, and Les Misérables' Max von Essen is the frustrated artist Sonny, in the Nov. 11 West Coast premiere of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical, Xanadu, at the La Jolla Playhouse in California.
Xanadu stars Elizabeth Stanley and Max von Essen
Xanadu stars Elizabeth Stanley and Max von Essen Alan Decker

This La Jolla Playhouse production, running to Dec. 31, moves on to a Chicago engagement in early 2009, which is the official launch of the national tour. Chicago performances begin Jan. 16, 2009, at the Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place.

Stanley and von Essen are joined onstage by Sharon Wilkins as Melpomeme, Joanna Glushak as Calliope and Larry Marshal as Danny with Tallia Brinson, Amy Goldberger, Vince Rodriguez III, Jason Michael Snow, Kristofer Stock, JB Wing, Julius Thomas III and Tiffany Topol.

Max von Essen was most recently seen on Broadway as Enjolras in the revival of Les Misérables. His other Broadway credits include Dance of the Vampires and Jesus Christ Superstar, and his Off-Broadway credits include Finian's Rainbow, The Fantasticks and John & Paul. The singing actor starred in the Paper Mill's production of The Baker's Wife, the Kennedy Center's staging of Mame, and his numerous other theatrical credits include roles in Dorian the Musical, My Fair Lady, Hair, Blood Brothers and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He was recently seen in the Kennedy Center's Broadway: Three Generations.

Elizabeth Stanley starred in the recent Broadway musical Cry-Baby and played April in the John Doyle revival of Stephen Sondheim's Company. She toured the country as Fraulein Kost in the national tour of Cabaret and recently played Eliza Doolittle in Pioneer Theatre Company's production of My Fair Lady in Salt Lake City, UT.

Xanadu is directed by Christopher Ashley with choreography by Dan Knechtges. The musical boasts a book by Little Dog Laughed playwright Douglas Carter Beane 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 creative team also includes scenic designer David Gallo, costume designer David Zinn, lighting designer Howell Binkley, sound designers T. Richard Fitzgerald and Carl Casella, projections designer Zachary Borovay, wig and hair designer Charles G. LaPointe and musical director Eric Stern.

Xanadu received four 2008 Tony Award nominations, including one for Best Musical. The Xanadu cast recording is available on the PS Classics label.

Xanadu is produced by Robert Ahrens, Dan Vickery, Tara Smith, B. Swibel Mickey Liddell and Cari Smulyan.

The Broadway production of Xanadu played its final performance Sept. 28 at the Helen Hayes Theatre.

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