By LAWSON TAITTE / The Dallas Morning News email@example.com
They’ve turned lots of old movies into musicals. Xanadu sets the record for improvement; it’s the best musical from the worst film.
The 1980 Olivia Newton-John stinkeroo did produce a lot of hits by Electric Light Orchestra’s Jeff Lynneand the star’s favorite songwriter, John Farrar. Two seasons ago, a stage version opened on Broadway with a new book by comic playwright Douglas Carter Beane (who penned Give It Up! for the Dallas Theater Center earlier this year). It was a surprise hit with critics and audiences alike. The national tour hit the Dallas Summer Musicals on Tuesday with an explosive bang.
This company belongs to the growing number of tours that actually play better on the road than they did on the Great White Way. Many Broadway producers seem to feel they must cast names recognizable to New York audiences, and that’s a limited pool of talent. You can’t really call many of these performers stars in the old sense, and the shows surely aren’t tailored to them. Fortunately for us out here in the sticks, the producers feel free to use less-familiar faces, sometimes much more able in their roles, on tour.
Thus, the gorgeous Anika Larsen, as the muse Clio who falls in love with a California painter, really looks like a goddess and sounds like one, too. As the clueless artist, Danny, Max von Essen is funnier and more consistent in his Valley Boy accent (and a more secure singer) than his Broadway predecessor.
The superiority in this production continues pretty much all the way down the line. Natasha Yvette Williams and Annie Golden are especially delicious as the comic villains. As the aging owner of the building Danny wants to turn into a roller derby, Larry Williamsturns a dreary role into a lovable one.
Xanadu played in the smallest house on Broadway, but it feels liberated, rather than dwarfed, in the immensity of Fair Park Music Hall. The audience catches all of Beane’s well-crafted in-jokes. This is one self-reflective musical that doesn’t take itself too seriously, or seriously at all.
Thanks to Christopher Ashley’s witty direction and Dan Knechtges’ inventive choreography, Xanadu might just be the best time you have at a musical this season.
PLAN YOUR LIFE: Through April 18 at Fair Park Music Hall. Runs 100 mins. $15 to $71. Ticketmaster at 214-631-2787, www.ticketmaster.com
To see the review on The Dallas Morning News’ website, follow this link: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/ent/stories/DN-xanadu08_0408gd.State.Edition1.41785f7.html
BROADWAY’S SURPRISE HIT MUSICAL
HITS THE ROAD!
WINNER BEST NEW MUSICAL 2008 – Outer Critic Circle Award
Presented by Dallas Summer Musicals April 6-18
Dallas, TX…Producers Robert Ahrens, Dan Vickery, Mickey Liddell, Tara Smith /B. Swibel, in association with Latitude Link, proudly present the musical adventure XANADU. The musical is brought by Dallas Summer Musicals, presented by Comerica Bank, as part of their 70th anniversary season, and opens at the Music Hall at Fair Park on April 6th.
XANADU, described as “Heaven on Wheels” by The New York Times, is based on the Universal Pictures’ cult classic movie of the same title, which starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly. XANADU was nominated for the 2008 Tony Award® for Best Musical.
Single tickets are on sale now at The Box Office, 542 Preston Royal Shopping Center, and all area Ticketmaster locations. Tickets are also available by calling 214-631-ARTS (2787) or online at www.ticketmaster.com. For groups of 15 or more, call 214-426-GROUP (4767).
This hilarious roller skating musical adventure, set in the year 1980, follows the journey of a magical and beautiful Greek muse, Kira, who descends from the heavens to inspire the greatest of artistic achievements – the first roller disco! Along the way she falls in forbidden love with a mortal, and chaos abounds when her jealous sisters take advantage of the situation.
“I laughed the entire time! It’s great fun for the whole family!” exclaimed Olivia Newton John.
XANADU is 90 minutes of family fun and inspiration to follow your dreams despite the limitations.
Douglas Carter Beane has written the book for XANADU based on the film of the same name and was the winner of the 2008 Drama Desk Award® for Outstanding Book of a Musical. The score, by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar, includes the hits, “Magic,” “Xanadu,” “Party All Over the World” and “I’m Alive” — all top 20 Billboard hits. Lynne wrote and produced all of the music of Electric Light Orchestra (E.L.O.). Farrar was also responsible for most of the hits that were performed by Olivia Newton-John in the 1970’s. XANADU is directed by Christopher Ashley and choreographed by Dan Knechtges.
XANADU features scenic design by Tony Award® winner David Gallo, costume design by David Zinn, lighting design by Tony Award® winner Howell Binkley, sound design by Dan Moses Schreier, projections design by Zachary Borovay, wig and hair design by Charles LePoint and musical direction by Eric Stern.
XANADU will open Tuesday, April 6 at 8 p.m. All performances are at the Music Hall at Fair Park, with the following performance schedule:
Tuesday April 6 8 p.m.
Wednesday April 7 8 p.m.
Thursday April 8 8 p.m.
Friday April 9 8 p.m.
Saturday April 10 2 and 8 p.m.
Sunday April 11 2 and 8 p.m.
Tuesday April 13 8 p.m.
Wednesday April 14 8 p.m.
Thursday April 15 2 and 8 p.m.
Friday April 16 8 p.m.
Saturday April 17 2 and 8 p.m.
Sunday April 18 2 p.m.
Next up for Dallas Summer Musicals will be THE MUSIC OF ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER, April 20-25; LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE THE MUSICAL, with Melissa Gilbert as “Ma,” May 11-23; WICKED, May 26-June 27; DREAMGIRLS, June 30-July 18; and the State Fair of Texas musical, SHREK THE MUSICAL, September 28-October 17, 2010.
Season sponsors for Dallas Summer Musicals, presented by Comerica Bank, are WFAA TV Channel 8 and American Airlines. Now celebrating its 70th season, Dallas Summer Musicals, Inc. (DSM) is the largest producer of live theatrical entertainment in the Southwest, the second oldest summer theater organization in the United States, and the sixth largest non-profit theater company. DSM has been entertaining North Texas audiences with the finest in live, musical theatre entertainment since 1941. In addition to presenting national Broadway tours, DSM also produces shows on Broadway, presents and tours local productions, and is involved in developing new works. Dallas Summer Musicals’ affiliates include DSM Management Group, Inc. (DSMMGI), which manages the Music Hall at Fair Park.
As a non-profit organization, DSM relies on a variety of funding sources to bring the Best of Broadway to Dallas at affordable ticket prices, as well as to preserve the beautiful historic theatres, educate young audiences and create important community programs. DSM’s Seats for Kids program provides a meaningful arts education experience to thousands of low income, at-risk and special needs children. DSM and the Dallas Police Department partner together to provide positive incentives for youth that are at risk for gang membership through the Stage Right program. In addition, the DSM Academy of Performing Arts offers professional theatre arts training and scholarships to talented students in need. Ticket sales alone do not sustain these endeavors. Only support from committed businesses, foundations and individuals make these programs possible. For more information about Dallas Summer Musicals, presented by Comerica Bank, visit their website at www.dallassummermusicals.org or call (214) 421-5678.
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For media information about this show or the Dallas Summer Musicals, and for videotape, photos, interviews or reviewer’s passes, please call Jo Ann Holt at 469-363-7371 or send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.