They Really Do Call it Xanadu

Broadway musical hits Chicago

The concept of the musical re-make of the 1980 Olivia Newton-John film Xanadu walks the thinnest of lines between delightfully shameless glow-stick parody and awkward, somewhat scary comedic attempts (i.e., creepy talking baby/animal commercials). But Xanadu successfully emerges as an energetically entertaining production worthy of all the excitement -- glow sticks and all.

Xanadu gets it right by keeping it short, sweet and unabashedly, self-consciously cheesy. As one character in the show puts it, there is such a thing as, "childen's theatre for 40-year-old gay people." It all involves 80s era legwarmers, terrible Australian accents, and flying pegasus ... es. (Hm, what is the plural of pegasus? Pegasi?)

During the same amount of time it took for the audience members to rock along to the final number with glow sticks, Baby was nowhere near the corner in that other musical remake in town, Dirty Dancing. (Why did they inexplicably add scenes to the stage production of DD? I guess that's another story for another time).

Xanadu got straight to the point, and made it great fun along the way. The audience members seated onstage -- and the fact that the one guy in the front row was beside himself with enthusiasm and was only barely restrained from catapulting over the short wall between audience and actors in the final numbers by his mortified friend -- only made it all the more enjoyable.

Laura Lodewyck is a member of the NBC Chicago Street Team and Nude Hippo TV.

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