The first smash hit of the 2007-2008 Broadway season turned out to be one of the biggest surprises in Broadway history: XANADU, which roller-skated its way into the hearts of critics and audiences alike. A hilariously reinvented send-up of the 1980's Olivia Newton-John film flop, this irreverent musical adventure, about following your dreams when others say you shouldn't, spins along to the addictive original hit film score by pop-rock legends Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. XANADU follows the beautiful Greek muse Kira as she visits Venice Beach, CA in 1980 to induce an uninspired artist, Sonny, to build the first roller disco (yes!). When she accidentally falls in love with him, much to her jealous sister muses' dismay, chaos and fun abound, skate wheels turn and disco balls twirl. The updated script by Douglas Carter Beane takes the plot and dialogue to knee-slapping extremes, while the legendary chart-topping tunes get a musical theatre makeover via a stellar company of performers. This original Broadway cast recording will keep XANADU in your head, and heart, forever.
At first glance, turning Olivia Newton-John’s 1980 flop musical into a Broadway show looked like a pretty bad idea. Yet the stage version of Xanadu is thrilling and appropriately ridiculous fun. Adapter Douglas Carter Beane went for the camp jugular (thankfully, this CD includes lots of lines from his book), and the cast rises to the occasion, milking every lyric line. Kerry Butler and Cheyenne Jackson bring irrepressible humor and charm to the roles played by Newton-John and Michael Beck, while Mary Testa and Jackie Hoffman provide outsize comic relief as muses. The movie’s songs, penned either by John Farrar or E.L.O.’s Jeff Lynne, are insanely catchy, one sing-along hit after another: "I’m Alive," "Magic," "Suddenly," "All Over the World," "Xanadu." All are huge treats, but the craziest track may well be "Evil Woman," which doesn't appear in the movie, but during which Testa and Hoffman let loose shamelessly over-the-top vocal effects. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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