XANADU Trips the Light Fantastic at the Retro Dome

XANADU: A Musical Fantasy. Book by Douglas Carter Beane; music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; based on the Universal Pictures film screenplay by Richard Danus and Marc Rubel; Director/Producer, Scott Evan Guggenheim. The Retro Dome, 1694 Saratoga Ave in San Jose, Calif. 95129 (at the corner of Saratoga Avenue and Prospect Road). 408-404-7711 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 408-404-7711 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

XANADU Trips the Light Fantastic at the Retro Dome

Why would anyone invest money in converting, Xanadu, a 1980 stinkeroo movie, into a stage vehicle? I guess because they had a vision that the world was ready for a hilarious spoof of the mythical Greek god Zeus and his seven daughters cavorting in gaudy costumes singing their hearts out on roller skates with enough disco balls suspended from the ceiling to supply the entire west coast dance halls. They were right. Xanadu became the smash hit of the 2007-2008 Broadway season running for over 500 performances winning multiple awards. Now is your chance to be equally entertained at the all-fun staging at the recently refurbished Retro Dome in San Jose. It is a hoot and a holler, colorful, implausible, must-be-seen to be believed West Coast production.

The time is 1980 Venice, California, and sidewalk chalk artist Sonny Malone (Adam Barry) has hit “artist block” (the equivalent of writer’s block) and cannot go on. But wait, the painting comes to life and the Seven Muses are alive and active with the youngest Clio determined to be Sonny’s artistic Muse. This is verboten by the rules from Mount Olympus, but what the hell, Danny is not too bright and he needs help. So, Clio, disguises herself as Kira complete with roller skates and leg warmers to help hapless Sonny to follow his dream. Would you believe he wants to combine art with athletics and what better way than to create a “roller disco.

But wait, Kira has two evil sisters, Melpomene (Hilary Little) and Calliope (Shannon Guggenheim) who will have none of this and they belt the “Evil Woman” ballad that brings the house down. Enter Danny Maguire (Stephen Guggenheim), a former clarinetist turned development entrepreneur who just happens to have an abandoned space. If Sonny and Kira can whip the place into shape in one day, generous Danny will give him 25% of the take. Kira doesn’t think this is very bright but goes along with Sonny’s dreams.

Conflict arises, since true love never runs true. Did I tell you it is a crime for the Olympian Muses to take mortal form and a bigger crime if they fall in love with a mortal? Well, you guessed it Kira and Sonny do the dastardly deed (if falling in love is a dastardly deed) to the music and lyrics of “Suddenly.”

What is even more fun, Brian Conway and Hector Quintanna play two Muses in drag. They garner lots of laughs with their antics and costumes. Oh, yes, all the costumes are a drag queens’ dream (Set and costume design by Julie Engelbrecht). Sarah Aili and Adam Barry have excellent voices and do great justice to the pop-rock score handled by an on-stage six piece band. The staging is marvelous with a plethora of sight gags that includes winged Pegasus carrying Clio back to Mount Olympus.

It truly is an ensemble performance with all parts fitting together like a crazy jigsaw puzzle. The running time of 95 minutes flies by and will leave you asking for more. Nevertheless, you will have to settle for a grand finale with the cast on roller skates while the multitudes of disco balls bathe the stage with flashing lights.

Kedar K. Adour,MD

Courtesy of www.theatreworldinternetmagazine.com