Drury Lane's 'Xanadu' shines
OAKBROOK TERRACE – Drury Lane Theatre rolls back the calendar to the 1980s with its smart, splashy and, yes, nutty production of “Xanadu,” a musical spoof based on a cult film of the same name.
The movie, which starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly, was something of a dud. But the stage version – with book by Douglas Carter Beane and the music and lyrics of Jeff Lynne and John Farrar – has fared well since its 2007 debut on Broadway, where it had a long run.
The play’s storyline refers to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s classic poem, “Kubla Khan,” in which Xanadu is described as the Chinese province where the emperor set up a pleasure garden.
Set in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, this “Xanadu” adds its own wacky twists, including an immortal Greek muse, Clio (petite and dynamic Gina Milo), who is sent from Mount Olympus to inspire struggling artist Sonny (handsome dreamer Chris Critelli) to realize his quirky vision of creating a personal Xanadu: a roller disco as the ultimate venue that would bring together the best of all the arts.
Clio and her retinue of fellow muses emerge from a mural in an unused theater building designed with ornate pillars to look like an ancient acropolis. Kevin Depinet’s scenic design, complemented by Mike Tutaj’s projections and Jesse Klug’s lighting, is spot on.
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