By Kathy Carpenter
August 23, 2019 (Spring Valley) – Watching Xanadu is like stepping into a time warp. The musical is based on the Universal film starring Olivia Newton-John. Yes, I saw the movie way back when and loved it--the music, the romance, the innocent kind of fun. It's what we did back in 1980. But I haven't seen the movie since.
I did not realize how many hit songs came from the movie. It was these songs I recognized and loved, and I also loved in this show. "Magic," "Evil Woman," "Suddenly," "Strange Magic," "Have You Ever Been Mellow” and "Xanadu." The orchestra is live with four members: Chris Potente on drums, John Nettles on guitar, Jerrica Stone and Kyle Adam Blair on piano. They provide beautiful music, reminiscent of the Bee Gees.
A roller skating disco in Venice, CA, 1980 provides a fun setting. This is a fresh offering for Young Actors’ Theatre in Sprint Valley. I have not seen Xanadu playing in my time as a reviewer. It’s romantic, filled with updated humor, a hint of magic and a sense of history.
Joe Dionisio directed this 10-person cast who gave their all. Jana Russick, plays Kira/Clio, Muse of History, doing a great job with her Australian accent and singing, also giving us our Olivia Newton-John fix. Elias Meamari had the male lead as Sonny Malone. As I read his bio I realize what a fantastic job he did bringing us the 80's vibe. He nailed it. Kate Marshall plays Melpomene, Clio's oldest sister, Muse of Memory. Marshall rocked. Rounding out the cast, Sebastian Williams was perfect as Danny Maguire. Noah Reed, who rocked Hermes, also plays Terpsichore, the Muse of Music. Carter Hudson is Calliope, the Muse of Epic Poetry and Rhetoric. Wyatt Gardner, plays Thalia, Muse of Comedy and Sophia Gardner is Euterpe, Muse of Lyric Poetry. Others include Laterra Kirkpatric, as Erato, Muse of Erotic Poetry and Maxine Levesque, as Urani, Muse of Astronomy. All of these actors played multiple roles but I wanted to give you the nine muses so you can learn from reading this.
In case you are wondering, one muse is missing, Polyhymnia, Muse of Sacred Hymns and Harmony.
Jerrica Stone is Musical Director and Marc Caro is the Choreographer. The show is simply great eighties; the costumes by Elise Pett and Alex Carter are beautiful and very muse-like--colorful and vibrant. I loved the sequined disco look at the end of the show.
As always these young actors need your support. Come out of the heat into this extremely cool theater and enjoy a show.
August 15-25, 2019
Young Actors' Theatre
Encore Theatre Spring Valley
9628 Campo Rd. Ste. J
Spring Valley, CA 91977