Wheels are in motion for UF’s musical roller rollick
It’s a musical about following your dreams, on roller skates, to a disco soundtrack!
The University of Findlay’s Vocal Music and Theatre programs will present “Xanadu,” a hilarious, family-friendly and rollicking parody of the 1980 cult classic movie of the same title that starred Olivia Newton-John, Michael Beck and Gene Kelly.
Show times will be Feb. 18-20 at 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. at the Frank J. Egner Center for the Performing Arts’ John & Hester Powell Grimm Theatre on Frazer Street.
Admission will be $10 for adults; $5 for senior citizens, UF faculty and staff, and non-UF students; and $3 for UF students. Tickets are available at UF’s Box Office located in the Alumni Memorial Union on Frazer Street, and can be reserved by calling the box office (419) 434-5335 or by emailing email@example.com. If the event hasn’t been sold out, tickets will also be available at the door.
The whole UF community is getting in on this act, and the results are sure to be memorable. Along with 16 students, the production will include 13 faculty, administrators and University friends who will play gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus.
“Xanadu” highlights the journey of a magical and beautiful Greek muse, Kira, who descends from Mount 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 world’s first roller disco. But when the muse falls into forbidden love with the mortal, her jealous sisters take advantage of the situation, and chaos abounds.
The hit-filled score was composed by pop-rock legends Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. Some of the ‘80s hit songs by Newton John and ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) include “Suddenly,” “Evil Woman,” “I’m Alive,” “Magic,” “Strange Magic,” “Don’t Walk Away,” and “Have you Never Been Mellow.”
The book for “Xanadu,” based on the original Universal Pictures screenplay by Richard Danus and Marc Rubel, has been expanded with new plot twists and satirical humor by Tony-nominated Douglas Carter Beane. It won the 2007 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical, and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical.
“Xanadu” on the silver screen didn’t do much to further the careers of its stars, but on Broadway, where it ran from 2007 to 2008, it received praise from critics.
New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood called it an “outlandishly enjoyable stage spoof of the outrageously bad movie from 1980… There’s so much silly bliss to be had.”
The New Yorker’s Hilton Als called it “so ridiculously brilliant, so lavish and sublime a confection that any set of adjectives you might come up with after a single viewing will more than likely be replaced by another set of ineffectual adjectives once you’ve seen the show a second or third time.”
UF’s lead actors will be sophomore Tabitha Kittle as Kira, or Clio, the muse of history; senior Preston Eberlyn as Danny; senior Timothy Sherman as Sonny; senior Alaina Counts as Melpomene, the muse of tragedy; and freshman Abbey Bubledare as Calliope, the muse of epic poetry.
Other muses will include junior Allison Dilbone; freshmen Makenna Fox, Ben Frankart, Meghan Lasher and Katie Swank; and sophomore Rose Mansel-Pleydell.
The three “Andrews sisters” will be played by junior Caitlyn Murphy, freshman Sarah Schroeder and sophomore Beth Johnson-Walsh.
Senior Katie Mehlow and sophomore Britney McIntosh will play backup rock singers “The Tubes.”
Gods on Olympus will be portrayed by Bob Schirmer as Zeus, Roger Fell as Hermes, Ron Tulley as Poseidon, A.J. DeFresne as Adonis, Mike Scoles as Dionysus, Bryan Crissman as Apollo and John Leach as Ares.
Goddesses will be played by Denise Anders as Aphrodite, Cheri-Hampton-Farmer as Hera, Diana Montague as Athena, Sean Farmer as Thetis, Elkie Burnside as Demeter and Rebecca Butler as Artemis.
Micheal F. Anders, Ph.D., music professor, is musical director. Vicki McClurkin, a theatre lecturer, is stage director; Brenda Hoyt-Backman, a dance lecturer, will be choreographer; Gregory Griffin, assistant theatre professor, is in charge of set, lighting and sound design; Kathy Newell, theatre lecturer, is the costume designer; Jessica Lezkowics is props master; Matt Stimmel is production advisor/shop foreman; Kelly Lewis, staff accompanist, is serving as rehearsal accompanist; and senior Jessica Herman is stage manager.
Assistant stage managers are freshman Molly O’Reilly and sophomore Rachel Coberley.