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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Xanadu Skates onto the Stage (Guest Post by Stephanie Class)

The Fort Thomas Community Theatre’s third production is bringing all your roller disco dreams to the stage with Xanadu. Director John Williamson has gathered some of the area’s top talent for this hilarious musical. When I was invited to attend one of the show’s rigorous rehearsals, I was impressed with the level of talent that has been assembled for the show.

The Fort Thomas Independent Schools’ website provides us with an insight into the musical’s story. “The story of the musical focuses on a Greek muse, Clio, who descends from Mt. Olympus to Venice Beach, California, in 1980 on a quest to inspire a struggling artist, Sonny, to achieve the greatest creation of his life - a roller disco. But, when Clio, disguised as an Australian roller girl named Kira, falls into forbidden love with the mortal Sonny, her jealous sisters take advantage of the situation, and Clio risks eternal banishment to the underworld.” Greek muses, 1980s Venice Beach, roller discos...what’s not to love?

Just because you are seeing the show in the Highlands High School auditorium and not off the Times Square - 42nd Street subway stop in New York City, doesn’t mean you will miss out on any of the show’s unique elements. Williamson is embracing the original Broadway production’s more unconventional aspects. The Community Theatre’s show will include a roller-skating cast as well as on-stage seating. Yes, you read that right - you can see all the roller disco action close-up from an on-stage seat.

When initially hearing of the organization’s choice to perform Xanadu, I was surprised since I had never heard of a community theater production of the show. Little did I know, that was due to the fact that the rights were just recently released to Xanadu. Williamson was quick to jump on the opportunity to direct Xanadu as soon as it was legally possible to do so. After first seeing the musical in New York City, Williamson was interested in bringing the show to Ft. Thomas. “I thought it was really fun when I first saw it on Broadway years ago, and since the rights were just released, it would be new, fresh, and different,” gushed Williamson at a rehearsal.

Xanadu consists of 15 cast members, some of which have Ft. Thomas roots, while others are from various places in the area. Many of the crew members are also Ft. Thomas folks, and I was lucky enough to chat with Stage Manager, Whitney Brindle, about the production. According to Brindle, the cast has been rehearsing up to four times each week since rehearsals kicked off in mid-December. I was also joined by Vickie Pelgin, one of the show’s Producers, who spoke highly of Xanadu’s musical numbers and the family friendly appeal of the show. Both Brindle and Pelgin were quick to comment on the production’s lovable cast. They often discussed how enjoyable the cast and crew are, and their admiration for one another was easily seen throughout the rehearsal. According to Brindle, Xanadu will offer up some “great laughs and cheesy, corny, ‘80s fun.”

You can catch a performance of Xanadu on the following dates:

Thursday, February 2: 7:30 PM
Friday, February 3: 7:30 PM
Saturday, February 4: 7:30 PM
Sunday, February 5: 2:00 PM
Performing Arts Center
Highlands High School
2400 Memorial Parkway
Fort Thomas, KY 41075

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