May 27

Connecting with the Cheerfully Cheesy “Xanadu”

McCaela Donovan and Ryan Overberg, Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Xanadu, book by Douglas Carter Beane, music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar, Speakeasy Stage Company, Roberts Studio Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 5/11/12-6/9/12, http://www.speakeasystage.com/doc.php?section=showpage&page=xanadu.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

Xanadu, the 1980 film featuring Olivia Newton John and music by the Electric Light Orchestra, is well known for being a critical flop.  The chief crime of this cinematic musical, however, is in creating entertainment that doesn’t connect with its audience.  After all, it’s a movie about disco released a year after the genre died a largely un-mourned death.  I’m hard pressed to find a better image of disconnection than that.

In being brought to the stage, Xanadu has finally found its correct medium.  The show not only finds its audience but winks at it furiously throughout the course of the story. Continue reading

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