Roller Skate Musical 'Xanadu' Is An Instant Cult Classic
Do you ever daydream about a place where roller skates, rainbow colors, singing, live Electric Light Orchestra covers, Pegasus, cotton candy, glitter, astral plane stuff, blonde wigs, tube socks, dancers and Cyclops could exist together in peace and harmony with the sole purpose of making you deliriously happy? If you answered yes, then you are in luck because that is EXACTLY what you will get at DOMA Theatre Company's production of Xanadu at the MET Theatre. This stage adaptation of the 1980 film may not have Olivia Newton John, but its talented cast, Angeleno references and non-stop camp is beyond entertaining -- it is utterly addicting. You will want to see this show more than once as it is surely an instant cult classic.
For those not familiar with the pastel-hued roller skate wonder that is Xanadu, the plot follows Sonny, a down-and-out painter and Cleo, his rule-breaking demi-god muse, as they fall in love while trying to open up a roller disco. The film version which featured Newton-John and Gene Kelly was a big flop; but the reworked 2007 stage version by Douglas Carter Beane geniously milks the self-depreciating humor and 1980s pop culture attitude.
Lead by the hugely talented Lovlee Carroll as Cleo, the cast of Xanadu is hilarious, uplifiting and a sheer pleasure to watch. Carroll is the archetype of a richly-talented musical-comedy performance virtuoso. She oozes charisma. Not only does Carroll easily flutter about the stage brightly belting out nuanced ELO covers spiked by impeccable comedic delivery -- she does it all while DANCING IN ROLLER SKATES!
As Sonny (Cleo's object of affection), Matt O'Neill is unassuming, endearingly silly and an engaging singer. Veronica Scheyving and Brittany Rodin are entertaining as the evil sister muses Melpomene and Calliope. David Michael Trevino's warm presentation and killer sense of timing are perfect for the role of the reminiscent real estate developer, Danny McGuire. Alan Lee and Bradley Sattler are particularly charming as Cleo's "sister" muses, Terpsicore and Thalia. Sattler is full of infectious effervescence, while Lee kicks the production quality up a few notches with his unexpectedly impressive balletic moves.
Hallie Baran's direction of Xanadu is perfect. It is as simple as that. Baran took a humble little Hollywood theatre space and turned it into a glittering camp humor heaven through impeccable timing, comedic sensibility and excellent blocking. Choreography by Angela Todaro and musical direction by Chris Raymond foster a satiating, full-bodied theatre experience. Amanda Lawson's scenic design coupled with costuming by Michael Mullen complete Xanadu as a musical package with a sequined, sparkling color scheme that would make the queen of 1980s girly aesthetics Lisa Frank beyond proud.
This show is so freaking amazing that it's impossible to adequately capture in writing the show's fabulously campy, over-the-top brilliance. It will make you want to twirl the cotton candy-covered rainbow glow-stick that you bought at intermission in the air.
Xanadu is playing at MET Theatre though October 7. Tickets are $20 to $35 and available online or via phone at 323-802-4990. Limited seating may be available at the door.