Xanadu (Stage Musical)


Segerstrom Center, 2009

The stage musical of Xanadu is a silly, self-aware parody of the movie, pared down to the bare minimum plot to hold the songs together, then expanded with more songs by the Electric Light Orchestra. It revels in its camp and never misses an opportunity for a pun or a cheap shot at its own genre (or story, or characters). And of course there’s roller-skating disco.

All this could make it the best show ever or an hour and a half of uncomfortable embarrassment punctuated by moments of hilarity, depending on your taste and frame of mind.

Appropriately enough for a story about fusing different genres together, the show itself is a fusion of two types of popular musicals these days: adaptations of movies, and “juke box” musicals that string together previously unrelated songs by an artist or in a particular style.

Personally, I really liked about 10% of it. I finally started to get into the show during Danny Maguire’s flashback/tap dance sequence and the song, “Whenever You’re Away,” but the rest of it just wasn’t my thing, or wasn’t what I was expecting, or something. The rest of the audience seemed to like it a lot better, though.