Spring musical ‘Xanadu’ skates into hearts


By Lexi Lane

While renovating the building for the roller derby, Sonny and Clio, played by juniors Manuel Gauna and Valentina Mentchoukov, gather people to spell out Xanadu – the name they select for the theater. Photo by Lexi Lane

If you didn’t get to the theater to see the spring musical, “Xanadu,” based on the 80s movie of the same name, from March 1-4, you missed a highly entertaining evening. The only flaw in the evening was the abundance of empty reserved seats.

For this production, the theater department elected to split the house into reserved and general admission seating. The majority of the reserved seating in the lettered rows was empty, making general seating crowded and harder to see, but, fortunately, the actors took no notice so this didn’t stop the show from being a hit.

The plot revolves around a Greek demigod named Clio, played by junior Valentina Mentchoukov, who disguises herself as an Australian named Kira. Accompanied by her seven sisters, they travel to Venice Beach in the 1980s in order to help a struggling artist named Sonny, played by junior Manuel Gauna, who was down in the dumps. Mentchoukov and Gauna’s characters played well off of each other, and the successful chemistry of that relationship made the play more exciting.

Clio is being sought after by Zeus, portrayed by junior Marshall Looney, to receive the highly sought after award of Xanadu, but she cannot create art or fall in love as she is a Muse. Leave it to her two jealous sisters, Calliope, played by senior Constance Kezar, and Melpomene, played by senior Kristina Kirkpatrick, to engage in mischievous hijinks and cast a love spell on the two while belting out “Evil Women” to a disco-style flickering light display. These two also made the show more enjoyable by going into the audience and interacting with the crowd while continuing their duet.

Sonny and Clio, who is still pretending to be Kira, convince each other to open up a roller derby in a theater and call it The Xanadu. To do this, they visit a real estate agent, Danny McGuire, also played by Looney, who used to be a former love of Clio’s decades ago. He allows them to open the theater if they can renovate it in a set amount of time.

During the building, Clio begins to realize she is falling in love and runs away from Sonny, ending the first half of the play with a dramatic, but still fitting song of  “Don’t Walk Away.”

As the second half opens, Clio is drawn back in by her sisters and forced to tell Sonny who she really is, but he doesn’t believe it. She winds up going to Mount Olympus to tell Zeus what happened and receive her punishment, but the other goddesses – Thalia, played by senior Joanna Mann; Euterpe, played by sophomore Abigail Truman; Erato, played by sophomore Sierra Miles; and Zeus’s wife, played by senior Emily Unger – beg him to give her sympathy. Sonny follows her, still not believing they are actual gods. He stands up to Zeus to let Clio love a mortal. Zeus finally gives in, giving the play the happy ending it deserves.

The show closes with a poppy musical number “Xanadu” while the cast roller skates around the stage singing the catchy tune.

The play was a fun, lighthearted story about a comedic romance with mythology tied in. Pop culture references were added throughout to make the audience laugh, and some were jokes from the 80s intended for the parents to understand.

While Danny, Kira, and Sonny appropriately wore bright neon colors and headbands reminiscent of the era, the other Muses, including Calliope and Melpomene, stayed true to the Greek goddess theme in their costumes – wearing white dresses with shawls or gold embroidery.

Theater teacher and director, Mrs. Burrows, as well as the assistant director, junior Emi Ohki, did a good job in casting these roles and bringing the characters out as well as mapping out the stage direction for the whole play.

The cast did an excellent job, from portraying the characters to singing. The roller skates, however, topped “Xanadu” off. From the cast whizzing around on them, to using them as props during musical numbers, and even, the roller derby – it was an exciting, unique touch that made the play amazing.