'Xanadu' opens Friday - June 6

'Xanadu' opens Friday - June 6

June 5th, 2014 by Barry Courter in Chattnow Art

Bobby Burkich, left, and Kirsten Neal rehearse for the Chattanooga Theatre Centre's production of "Xanadu," which opens Friday.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

¦ What: "Xanadu."

¦ When: 8 p.m. June 6-7; 7 p.m. June 12; 8 p.m. June 13-14; 2:30 p.m. June 15; 8 p.m. June 20-21; 8 p.m. June 27-28; 8 p.m. July 5; 2:30 p.m. July 6.

¦ Where: Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St.

¦ Admission: $25 students, $30 adults.

¦ Phone: 423-267-8534.

¦ Website: www.theatrecentre.com.

SPECIAL PROGRAMMING

¦ Friday, June 6: Opening night gala begins at 7 p.m.; disco after show

¦ Thursday, June 12: Real-time captioning for deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons

¦ Friday, June 13: Disco after the show

¦ Saturday, June 14: Watch Riverbend fireworks from patio after the show

¦ Friday, June 20: Disco after the show

¦ Friday, June 27: Girls Night Out and disco after the show

"Xanadu," the silly musical production based on the equally campy 1980 movie starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly, opens Friday, June 6, in the Circle Theatre at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre. The production runs through Sunday, July 6.

It replaces "Pippin," which was pulled from the schedule because a national touring company is presenting it in Nashville, triggering a regional noncompete clause.

"I've wanted to do 'Xanadu' for a while," says director Scott Dunlap, "so it only took us about 10 minutes to choose it as the replacement. It's just so funny, and there is skating."

The movie version was not well received by audiences or critics, but the soundtrack did very well. The original score includes "Magic," "All Over the World," "Suddenly," "I'm Alive," "Evil Woman," "Have You Never Been Mellow" and the title track. The stage version opened on Broadway in 2007 and was nominated for Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Book.

The musical centers on the idea that Clio/Kira (played here by Kirsten Neal) is doomed by her jealous sisters (Addie Counts, Ashline Neal, Beth McClary, Stefanie Oppenheimer) to fall in love with a mortal.

Their father, Zeus (Greg Rambin Sr.) is not happy with his daughters. The musical makes several references to the movie, but focuses more on the Greek mythology.

"In a lot of ways, it's bad, but it knows it's bad, and that's what makes it so funny," Dunlap says.

In the play, Kira's love interest, chalk artist Sonny Malone (Bobby Burkich), creates a mural featuring the muses and is so unhappy with it, he decides to kill himself. Back on Mount Olympus, Clio convinces her sisters to visit Venice Beach, where they rise up out of the mural.

In keeping with Zeus' rule about being disguised from mortals, Clio dresses in skates, leg warmers and adopts an Australian accent and changes her name to Kira.

The set will include both a Greek garden and a roller disco. Several of the actors will be on skates for a large portion of the show, which required many of the actors to learn to skate.

"They are getting better," Dunlap says.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.