Xanadu: A Theatrical Review
Come one, come all, to see the disco, rock, campy roller skating comedy that evokes memories about our past as well as encourages thought about our present. This hilarious and wonderful musical romantic comedy is a hit that should not be missed by any true theater goer in the Southern California area.
Xanadu, book by Douglas Carter Bean, music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar is currently playing at the DOMA Theatre Company, housed at the Met Theatre in our own historic Hollywood, CA. This production splendidly directed by Hallie Baran with musical direction by young prodigy Chris Raymond, and intelligent choreography by Angela Todaro is a blast from the past experience that every person who loved the music of the 1980’s will thrill to experience and want to see again and again. Producers Marco Gomez, Mike Abramson, and Dolf Ramos are to be congratulated; this program (all camped up for the sheer comedic joy of it) could well have been a total flop, but it is truly anything but that. As a youth of the 1980’s myself, I found myself singing along with the great selection of music, enjoying the folly of the characters, laughing at the ironic foolishness that was the 1980’s, and dancing in my seat as I was able to completely enjoy a walk down my own insane memory lane. This program is at its heart, just plain fun, with a helping heaping of silly thrown in for the joy of it.
Based on the Universal Pictures staring Olivia Newton John, this is a love story…let’s face it, what great theatrical programs of today are not? But this story comes at it from a unique and somewhat unexpected (for those who have no idea about the story anyway) twist. A Greek demi-goddess, a daughter of Zeus, who is forbidden to love a mortal or create anything herself, is sent to earth, 1980’s Venice, CA to be exact, to help encourage the artistic endeavors of a young man who is about ready to give up on life itself, thinking himself a total failure. How pure a story, I mean which of us in the arts hasn’t had those multiple moments when we were convinced that what we thought was talent or calling was something that only we thought we had and really did not? Artists in general need a muse of some sort in order to create. For some it is an idea, a drive, a topic, even a structure; for most, it is the love and or appreciation of another person. This is the case of Sonny Malone, wonderfully portrayed by Matt O’Neill, and his muse Kira (aka Clio) beautifully played by Lovlee Carroll (though tanning was NOT a thing of the 1980’s and this lovely young lady may well have gone a bit overboard on this for the character – though this fact is very quickly forgotten when she opens her mouth to share her delightful voice).
The two characters who stole this show for me – which is something we as critic’s are always trying to see in a production, hopefully in a good way, were that of Melpomene (& Medusa) splendidly portrayed by Veronica Scheyving, and Thalia (also Siren, Young Danny, Tubes Singer, and Cyclops) comically and splendidly portrayed by Bradley Sattler. Though there was not one poor performance given in this hilarious program, these two performers deserve my spotlight comments. Veronica Scheyving’s performance throughout is wonderful, but her campy and beautiful performed “Evil Woman”, is something I will be thinking about for some time to come…as well as recounting in my own memory as I sing along to the song itself. Bradley Sattler’s performance, first and foremost as a sister demi-goddess (for those who do not know, demi-gods are not supposed to have actual gender) but also seamlessly mixing into each of his other characters is simply pure magic. This young man is going to go very far in the world of live theatrical performance, and as a director and producer myself; I would LOVE to find a way to get him to perform for me sometime soon. (When you read this Bradley, know that I have a role in mind for you even now – both a joke to my readers as well as a fact.)
Simply put, this production is not simple. This is a massive undertaking. Not that every GOOD production isn’t a massive undertaking but to do a production like this well is an extra portion of difficult. As a director and producer, I have pure delight and appreciation for the work that had to have gone into this production long before it was even cast, not mention after that fact. Well done! For those of my loyal readers who want to simply have a great time at the theatre, you need to go see Xanadu. This wonderful production is one that could likely pack houses all over Southern California for many months to come, but as with all DOMA Theatre productions, this is a limited run with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 3PM through October 7th only. Ticket prices are a bit higher than some small theaters, but for a production of this quality, more than worth it at $30 – $34.99 per person. (Hint: They also offer discounted rates at $20 each for seniors and students with identification.) The MET Theatre is located at 1089 N. Oxford Ave. in Los Angeles, CA 90029 (right on the border of Hollywood proper at the beginning of theatre row). There is some secured parking available for a nominal fee, but get to the theatre early, as these spots will fill up quickly. To make your reservations for this production, call 323-802-4990 or log onto the internet at www.DomaTheatre.com. Enjoy!
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