Helen Hayes Theatre, (7/10/2007 - 9/28/2008)

First Preview: May 23, 2007
Opening Date: Jul 10, 2007
Closing Date: Sep 28, 2008
Total Previews: 49
Total Performances: 512

Category: Musical, Fantasy, Original, Broadway
Setting: Los Angeles and Mount Olympus in 1980

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by Martin Markinson and Donald Tick

Produced by Robert Ahrens, Dan Vickery, Tara Smith/B.Swibel and Sarah Murchison/Dale Smith; Associate Producer: Cari Smulyan, Marc Rubel, Allison Bibicoff and Christopher R. Webster III/Maggie Fine

Book by Douglas Carter Beane; Music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; Lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; Based on the Universal Pictures Film Screenplay by Richard Danus and Marc Rubel; Music arranged by Eric Stern; Musical Director: Eric Stern; Associate Musical Dir.: Karl Mansfield

Directed by Christopher Ashley; Choreographed by Dan Knechtges; Associate Director: Dana Iris Harrel; Associate Choreographer: DJ Gray

Scenic Design by David Gallo; Costume Design by David Zinn; Lighting Design by Howell Binkley; Sound Design by T. Richard Fitzgerald and Carl Casella; Projection Design by Zachary Borovay; Hair and Wig Design by Charles G. LaPointe; Makeup and Wig Design by Jon Carter; Associate Scenic Design: Frank McCullough; Associate Costume Design: Amelia Dombrowski and Sarah Laux; Associate Lighting Design: Ryan O'Gara; Associate Sound Design: David Bullard; Associate Projection Design: Austin Switser

General Manager: Laura Heller; Company Manager: Jolie Gabler

Technical Supervisor: Juniper Street Productions; Production Stage Manager: Arturo E. Porazzi; Stage Manager: John M. Atherlay

Conducted by Eric Stern; Associate Conductor: Karl Mansfield; Synths: Eric Stern and Karl Mansfield; Guitar: Chris Biesterfeldt; Drums: Eric Halvorson; Musical Coordinator: John Miller; Music Copying: Kaye-Houston Music; Synthesizer Programmer: Karl Mansfield

Casting: Cindy Tolan; Press Representative: Pete Sanders and Blue Current Public Relations; Marketing: HHC Marketing; Advertising: The Eliran Murphy Group, Ltd.; Dance Captain: Marty Thomas; Skating Coach/Dance Assistant/Specialty Skater: David Tankersley

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Opening Night Cast

Kerry ButlerClio/Kira
Cheyenne Jackson
Replaced James Carpinello in previews
Sonny
(Jun 21, 2007 - Jun 29, 2008)
Tony RobertsDanny Maguire, Zeus
Jackie HoffmanCalliope, Aphrodite
(May 23, 2007 - Jul 27, 2008)
Mary TestaMelpomene, Medusa
Curtis HolbrookThalia, Siren, Young Danny, '80s Singer, Cyclops
(May 23, 2007 - Apr 13, 2008)
Anika LarsenEuterpe, Siren, '40s Singer, Thetis
(May 23, 2007 - Nov 26, 2007)
Kenita R. MillerErato, Siren, '40s Singer, Eros, Hera
David TankersleyFeatured Skater #2
Marty ThomasFeatured Skater
Andre WardTerpsicore, Siren, '80s Singer, Hermes, Centaur

Swings: Patti Murin and Marty Thomas

Understudies: Annie Golden (Calliope, Aphrodite, Melpomene, Medusa), Curtis Holbrook (Sonny), Anika Larsen (Calliope, Aphrodite, Clio/Kira, Melpomene, Medusa), Kenita R. Miller (Clio/Kira), Patti Murin (Clio/Kira), Peter Samuel (Danny Maguire, Zeus) and Andre Ward (Calliope, Aphrodite, Melpomene, Medusa, Sonny)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2008 Best Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Robert Ahrens, Dan Vickery, Tara Smith/B.Swibel and Sarah Murchison/Dale Smith

 2008 Best Book of a Musical [nominee] 

Book by Douglas Carter Beane

 2008 Best Actress in a Musical [nominee] 

Kerry Butler

 2008 Best Choreography [nominee] 

Dan Knechtges

Drama Desk Award

 2008 Outstanding Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Robert Ahrens, Dan Vickery, Tara Smith/B.Swibel and Sarah Murchison/Dale Smith

winner 2008 Outstanding Book of a Musical [winner] 

Book by Douglas Carter Beane

 2008 Outstanding Actor in a Musical [nominee] 

Cheyenne Jackson

 2008 Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical [nominee] 

Mary Testa

 2008 Outstanding Choreography [nominee] 

Dan Knechtges

 2008 Outstanding Director of a Musical [nominee] 

Christopher Ashley

Songs

music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar

I'm Alive
(music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar )
Muses and Clio/Kira
Magic
(music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar )
Sonny, Kira and Muses
Evil Woman
(music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar )
Melpomene, Calliope, and Sirens
Suddenly
(music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar )
Sonny and Kira
Whenever You're Away From Me
(music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar )
Danny Maguire, Kira, and Young Danny
Dancin'
(music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar )
'40s and '80s Singers, Kira, Sonny, and Danny
Strange Magic
(music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar )
Sonny and Kira, Melpomene, Calliope, and Eros
All Over the World
(music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar )
Full Company
Don't Walk Away
(music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar )
Sonny, Kira and Muses
Fool
(music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar )
Kira, Melpomene, and Calliope
The Fall
(music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar )
Sonny and Muses
Suspended in Time
(music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar )
Kira and Sonny
Have You Never Been Mellow?
(music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar )
Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Thetis, Cyclops, Medusa and Centaur
Xanadu
(music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar )
Full Company

Reviews


AP: "Xanadu on stage: when good things happen to bad movies"

Xanadu, the jaw-droppingly awful 1980 film that sank Olivia Newton-John’s movie career yet couldn’t kill roller disco, has been turned into a fast, funny little stage musical. Quite a transformation.

It may not start a new fad for leg warmers, headbands and the thump-thump sounds of the Electric Light Orchestra, but the 90-minute show, which opened Tuesday, July 10, at Broadway’s Helen Hayes Theatre, cheerfully (and with camp to spare)

Adapter Douglas Carter Beane, author of The Little Dog Laughed, has wisely jettisoned the movie’s incomprehensible story line. Still, he has kept the character of Sonny Malone, the creatively stymied Venice, Calif. artist who wants to “make all the arts converge in one place, painting, music, dancing and maybe even athletics.” The obvious forum: a roller disco.

As played by Cheyenne Jackson, who replaced the injured James Carpinello during previews, the dimwitted Sonny is sort of Li’l Abner by way of Beach Blanket Bingo. The sturdy Jackson- sporting the best thighs on Broadway- displays a natural comic timing, not to mention a booming musical- theater voice that is comfortable with the show’s pop score by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar.

The songs are taken directly from the movie and include such hits as Magic and I’m Alive as well as Newton-John’s 1975 success Have You Never Been Mellow. They function sort of like the ABBA numbers inserted in to the wispy plot of Mamma Mia! The numbers don’t exactly advance the tale, but they are there to get nods of recognition and a few laughs from hardcore Xanadu fans while exposing a whole new audience to the music.

At the center of the show is Kira (the Newton-John role), the beautiful Greek muse who decides to help Sonny achieve artistic fulfillment. She’s played here by the delightful Kerry Butler, a veteran of the Broadway casts of Hairspray and the 2003 revival of Little Shop of Horrors.

The sweetly appealing Butler, decked out in flowing blond hair, does double duty. She sings with ease as she speeds around designer David Gallo’s vaguely ancient Grecian setting. The actress knows who to slyly snare a laugh, too, and Beane has given her plenty. There’s even another homage of sorts to Newton-John- this muse comes equipped with an Australian accent.

Yet the evening’s major giggle getters are Mary Testa and Jackie Hoffman, Kira’s jealous sisters who plot her downfall. Muses are forbidden to fall in love with mortals, so naturally the two concoct a plan to make romance blossom between Kira and Sonny.

Hoffman, another Hairspray alum, literally chews the scenery with hilarious results, and Testa, a brassy lady with an equally brassy voice, knows how to take a song and shake the rafters.

Every once in a while, plot threatens to take over. Part of the story involves a regretful older businessman, played here by Tony Roberts (Gene Kelley in the movie), who owns the building Sonny wants to use as the disco. When young, he didn’t follow his muse and ended up rich - but alone. Will Sonny take that lesson to heart?

Roberts is a game performer and a pro at delivering Beane’s occasionally wry comic comments. The man doesn’t get up on skates, though. That’s let mostly to a small ensemble, particularly in the show’s disco-ball finale- choreographed by Dan Knechteges- and done to the show’s hypnotic title tune.

As Broadway musicals go, Xanadu is small scale. Not much set and what little space there is on stage gets partially taken up by several rows of audience members (shades of Spring Awakening).

But size doesn’t matter. Director Christopher Ashley has invested the musical with a sure sense of what it wants to accomplish. There is a unity of performer and purpose that is enormously ingratiating. Xanadu doesn’t take itself seriously - except in its desire to deliver a good time.


AP
07/10/2007

Replacement/Transfer Info


The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.


Helen Hayes Theatre

(7/10/2007 - 9/28/2008)
Produced by Cari Smulyan.

Guitar Chris Delis.

Dance Captain: Patti Murin.

Cast

Shannon Antalan
Erato, Siren, '40s Singer, Eros, Hera (Jul 30, 2007 - Sep 10, 2007)
Jacob ben Widmar
Thalia, Siren, Young Danny, '80s Singer, Cyclops
James Carpinello
Injured during a rehearsal while in previews
Sonny Was replaced in previews
(May 23, 2007 - Jun 10, 2007)
Whoopi Goldberg
Calliope, Aphrodite (Jul 29, 2008 - Sep 7, 2008)
Jackie Hoffman
Calliope, Aphrodite (Sep 9, 2008 - Sep 28, 2008)
Curtis Holbrook
Steps into the role of Sonny while Cheyenne Jackson takes July leave to perform with City Center Encores!.
Sonny (Jul 1, 2008 - Jul 27, 2008)
Cheyenne Jackson
Sonny (Jul 29, 2008 - Sep 28, 2008)
Kyle Dean Massey
Thalia, Siren, Young Danny, '80s Singer, Cyclops (Apr 15, 2008 - ?)
Patti Murin
Euterpe, Siren, '40s Singer, Thetis (Nov 27, 2007 - ?)
Andre Ward
Performed the role after James Carpinello's injury while Cheyenne Jackson was in rehearsal
Sonny (Jun 12, 2007 - Jun 19, 2007)
Ryan Watkinson
Featured Skater (Aug 13, 2007 - Nov 5, 2007)



Understudies: Shannon Antalan (Clio/Kira), Jesse J.P. Johnson (Sonny), Kate Loprest (Clio/Kira), Kyle Dean Massey (Sonny), Stuart Morland (Danny Maguire, Zeus), Patti Murin (Calliope, Aphrodite, Clio/Kira, Melpomene, Medusa), Ken Nelson (Danny Maguire, Zeus), Ryan Watkinson (Calliope, Aphrodite).


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