The title doesn’t ring a bell? Let me refresh your memory.
You probably remember how Olivia Newton-John, the pert, wholesome pop thrush, rocketed to film stardom opposite John Travolta in the Hollywood version of the musical “Grease.” That was in 1978. A mere two years later she roller-skated into oblivion — or at least back to Australia — in a fabulously insipid turkey called “Xanadu,” which didn’t do much for Gene Kelly’s career, either. “Xanadu” also helped kill the “Grease”-born movie musical revival right quick, and the film now resides, I trust, under toxic lockdown at Netflix shipping centers across the country. Watch it at your peril.
Now, the epically bad film has been transformed by the Gods, or at least Douglas Carter Beane and friends, into a 90 minute musical sensation. Breathing life into the musical is risk, the show is cheese at it’s best, but who better to tackle this show on wheels than the Aurora Fox. Directed by Ben Dicke, choreography by Piper Arpan and music direction by David Nehls, Xanadu is a success.
If you’ve ever come into contact with any of these three, you know that between them the humor is endless. “I have a very strange sense of humor and am often seen as the class clown. I usually have to negotiate my own personality when trying to lead others. In other words, folks sometimes are often confused as to when to take me seriously,” said Dicke of his time directing.
This production is perfectly cast. It goes to show that when sitting down at the table, Dicke, Arpan and Nehls were not taking any chances.
If you were ever a fan of Cheyenne Jackson, then Andrew Diessner is will surely wet your whistle. Although new to the Denver theatre scene, Diessner is making tremendous strides. Wowing the audience with his incredible vocals chops, slipping in jokes like nobody’s business and not to mention the boy is easy on the eyes and filling his cut-off, short shorts very nicely.
Opposite Diessner, is Amy Board playing Clio/Kira, the leader of the muses. To say that she is brilliant is an understatement. There are simply no words to describe the amount of talent Board presents. Her timing is impeccable and her voice is like a dream. If you have to watch a show full of cheese, it should be the best kind and these two leads are giving just that and more.
If those two weren’t enough, add to the mix the talents of Sharon Kaye White, Ashlie-Amber Harris, Gregory Price, Tyrell D. Rae, Jessica Hindsley, Megan Koumis and Rob Costigan…need we say more. This cast is jam-packed with hilarity. “Ben, David and I are all wacky. We share the goofy sensibilities necessary to make the show a success, and I knew we would all click. I couldn’t have imagined working on the piece with anyone else,” says Arpan.
While the overall premise of the show is, lets face it lame, the same can’t be said for the performances, the team of D.A.N (Dicke + Arpan + Nehls) and the Fox. Tickets are selling quickly, so you are looking for you brush with the Gods, seeking some inspiration or just wanting to find a good time, Xanadu is the show for you.
HERE’S A HINT: Try sitting on stage if you’re feeling extra adventurous. I have a feeling you might have quite the story to tell friends.
9900 East Colfax Avenue
Aurora, CO 80010