“Xanadu” Shines

By Mara Shapiro

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[singlepic id=2787 w=320 h=240 float=left]Guys in dresses and short-shorts, girls with ridiculously poofy hair, lots of singing, and roller skates? This is how Niles West Theatre’s production of “Xanadu” appeared to the packed audience.

“Xanadu” is about a muse named Clio, played by senior Lauren Langer, who comes down from the heavens during the 1980’s in Venice, California to inspire a mortal named Sonny, played by senior Steven Czajkowski, in building a roller skating rink. Clio, in order to disguise herself, changes her name to Kira and adopts an Australian accent. However, according to Zeus, if she falls in love with a mortal, she will be forever banished to the underworld.

Kira first meets Sonny as he is attempting to commit suicide by jumping off a pier. As the two sing a little song, Sonny realizes that with Kira’s help, he can combine his talents into creating a roller skating rink, to which Kira replies “How timeless!” The two then go off on their merry ways discussing their future plans.

Meanwhile, up in the heavens, Clio’s jealous sisters Melpomene, played by senior Anahita Karimi and Calliope, played by senior Julia Zasso, are scheming to make Clio fall in love with Sonny. Melpomene is jealous that as the first born, she was not granted the honor of being the head of the muses, but Clio was.

Back on Earth, Sonny and Kira  go to the dilapidated “Xanadu” theatre, owned by an old businessman named Danny, played by sophomore Daniel Bedoya. Right away Danny isn’t the nicest character, by screaming into his phone “I will destroy you! Have a nice day.” But with Sonny’s persistence, and the fact that Kira seems to have come as another form to Danny for his own inspiration while he was much younger, he complies.

In the end, Sonny and Clio renovate the theatre, fall in love, and defy Zeus to live a happy ending with Clio becoming a mortal on Earth with the gift of “Xanadu,” which is to love and create freely. Cheesy? Very, but that is just how the musical goes.

Though the musical in itself was very 80’s flop, the singing and dancing were fantastic, not to mention the funny lines, such as when Melpomene is describing the reason she thinks Zeus didn’t allow her to become the head muse, which is because she laid down with the river god. “He’s my baby daddy,” she quips. Or when she says that for people in the valley, people fall in love “just because the other has air-conditiong.” I really loved Melpomene and Calliope’s evil scenes together and how Calliope was her older sister’s  cackling henchwoman essentially.  Another funny one-liner is when Kira tells Sonny that it makes her sick that she’s fallen in love with him, he replies with “You’re so Catholic!”  And who can forget all the muses saying “Oh snappeth!” These all made me laugh pretty hard, not to mention when senior Quinn Lawson-Hall, who plays Terpiscore and Hermes, screams rudely to Clio “I don’t know your life!” and stomps off like a little girl. These scenes are just a few of the funny moments that had me cracking up.

The costumes were amazing, like Lawson-Hall’s  one-person centaur costume or Czajkowski’s cutoff jean shorts and bandana, and  of course all the boys playing muses  in dresses. The acting was superb, the songs had high energy, especially when the actors stood in the aisles to dance, and the whole cast  made you feel joy while watching. Overall, nice job to the whole cast and crew and theatre director Andrew Sinclair. All the hard work and dedication paid off and I can’t wait for the next production!