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a Musical Comedy
by Book by: Douglas Carter Beane, Music & Lyrics by: Jeff Lynne & John Farrar

COMPANY : Act 3 Productions [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Act 3 Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 4200

SHOWING : January 05, 2012 - January 15, 2012



XANADU follows the journey of a magical and beautiful Greek muse, Kira, who descends from the heavens of Mt. Olympus to Venice Beach, California in 1980 on a quest to inspire a struggling artist, Sonny, to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time - the first ROLLER DISCO! (Hey, it's 1980!) But, when Kira falls into forbidden love with the mortal Sonny, her jealous sisters take advantage of the situation and chaos abounds.

Sonny Malone Joe Arnotti
Melpomene (Medusa) Kandice Arrington
Euterpe (Thetis) Caty Bergmark
Erato (Hera) Angela Christie
Cameo Performance Jesse Cramer
Cameo Performance Chris Davis
Cameo Performance Erin Deeble
Cameo Performance Ansley Elizabeth Gwinn
Cameo Performance Benjamin Harding
Cameo Performance Brianna Harding
Thalia (Cyclops) Bill Harding
Cameo Performance Julie Isaacson
Cameo Performance Joanna Mitchell
Cameo Performance Michelle Peck
Terpsicore (Hermes, Centaur) Daniel Pino
Cameo Performance Zip Rampy
Cameo Performance David Reingold
Danny Maguire (Zeus) Joel Rose
Calliope (Aphrodite) Jo Jo Steine
Cameo Performance Spencer G. Stephens
Kira (Clio) Maggie Taylor
Cameo Performance John Taylor
Cameo Performance Lyn Taylor
Cameo Performance Noah Wagar
Cameo Performance Greg Windle
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by playgoer
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Act3's "Xanadu" sparkles with verve and charm. The set is necessarily simple, given the small stage, consisting of a faux concrete wall, a few movable boxes, a telephone booth, and pastel fabrics. Lighting effects (like the set, designed by Theresa Dean) include projections on the stage floor and on the upstage wall that add a little variety. It's not a complicated set, but it's effective.

Costumes by Patti Folio, Alli Sheahan, and Nancy Sheahan are entirely suitable, consisting of a few modern-era costumes for the male leads and Greek-inspired costumes for the Olympian gods and demi-gods. The toga-like fabrics flow extremely well and are accessorized elegantly. It's a good-looking show.

The solo and ensemble singing and the orchestral accompaniment are first-rate throughout. Leads Joe Arnotti and Maggie Taylor are both immensely talented, with wonderful singing voices that blend beautifully. Their acting points up a lot of comedy in the show, while still coming across as honest, earnest, and innocent. Joel W. Rose, playing a cynical middle-aged man recalling the dreams of his youth, can't match them in the acting department, but does extremely well in terms of singing and dancing. The younger version of his character, played by Greg Windle, dances up a storm.

I was concerned about Kandice Arrington (Melpomene) in the opening number, when she seemed to be pushing her voice a bit too much, but she settled down into her evil role and ended up being one of the highlights of the show. Jo-Jo Steine, as her comic henchlady (Calliope), fired on all cylinders, doing a great job of (physically) chewing the scenery. Daniel Pino also shone in all his roles.

Some actors excelled in only one of their roles. Caty Bergmark was a bit of a cypher as the Muse Euterpe, but gave a beautifully comic, nuanced performance as Thetis. Angela Christie, on the other hand, had a little more sparkle than most of the other Muses as Erato, but brought little extra to her role of Hera. Only Bill Harding as Thalia, the Muse of Comedy, disappointed by appearing tentative and a beat behind in choreography, and not in the self-knowingly comic way Zip Rampy and some of the other "cameo" performers achieve.

Douglas Carter Beane's book adds a lot of self-knowing humor to the basic plot of the Olivia Newton John movie, integrating the movie's songs and a few others into an 80's-inspired disco extravaganza. It's all done tongue-in-cheek, and director Patti Mactas has ensured that each comic nuance is highlighted with just the right amount of emphasis. Music directors Lyn Talor and Greg Windle have made sure that the songs sound right, and sound design by Skylar Burks blends the orchestra and voices well. Choreographers Erin Hamilton and Johnna Mitchell have provided movement that keeps the action flowing.

"Xanadu" overflows with small "cameo" roles, filled by individuals ranging from well-known professionals (Spencer G. Stephens) to a few children playing sirens (Benjamin Harding, Brianna Harding, Julie Isaacson, and David Reingold). These all add to the fun of the evening, keeping the small stage humming with activity from start to finish. Act3's production is a heap of fun stuffed into a tiny performance space, with the fun overflowing into every corner of the audience. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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