High School Musical: Xanadu

I’ve been attending Carl Junction High School’s plays and musicals for 3 1/2 years, catching the fall and spring performances with grandson Dayan and daughter Elissa. Tonight I was excited about the premiere of Xanadu, a musical I have never seen. 

You know it’s going to be a great show when there is a disco ball as a prop! 

Xanadu is a musical comedy based off of the 1980 Universal Pictures film by the same name. Music and lyrics are by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. The production is performed in two acts and features 15 musical numbers. 

The Carl Junction High School cast included Brett Boline, Katie Martinez, Cade Hensley, Megan Ritchins, Sophia Day, Darian Wilson, Gracie Jackson, Katherine Austin, Lindsey Ritchie and Xander Eck. 

Set in Venice, California, in 1980, Xanadu is the story of a young chalk artist, Sonny Malone (Boline), who isn’t pleased with his rendition of the Muses. As he is contemplating ending his life, the muses step out of the drawing, and the youngest of the sisters, Clio (Martinez) determines to save the young man and inspire him to pursue his creative dreams. 

Zeus insists that his daughters appear to humans in disguise, so Clio approaches Sonny as an Australian sporting roller skates and leg warmers, and using the more modern name of Kira. 

The oldest sister/muse Melpomene (Richins) is jealous that the youngest of them leads the muses. With the help of another sister, Calliope (Day), she plots Kira’s downfall by cursing her to fall in love with the mortal Sonny, which will invoke the wrath of Zeus. 

Inspired by Kira, Sonny decides to combine all the arts and “something athletic” into one spectacular entertainment…a roller disco. He finds a derelict abandoned theater, called the Xanadu, that is perfect for his dream. Now he must convince the owner, a middle aged real eastate mogul named Danny Maguire (Hensley), to allow him to use the theater. 

As a young man with big creative dreams of his own, Danny was also inspired by a woman who looked very much like Kira. He gives Sonny one day to transform the old theater, which was built years ago by Danny as he pursued his dream, and create the roller disco. 

Can Sonny do the impossible, to make his dream a reality? And will the curse work, causing Kira to fall in love and incur punishment from her father? And will all the cast members zipping around on roller skates stay on their feet?!

This was an amazing production…clever, funny, and touching, performed by an extremely talented group of teens. Brett Boline and Katie Martinez were enchanting in the title roles. And Miss Martinez has a beautiful voice. I’ve watched her sing and act her way through a variety of productions over the years and she never fails to wow me. 

Megan Richins and Sophia Day were outstanding as the bad girls of the musical, and hands down drew the most laughs with their expressive performances. Both girls have incredible voices and great comedic timing and delivery. 

The rest of the performers were excellent as well. There wasn’t a weak cast member in the group. Which meant, I smiled appreciatively throughout this musical, with frequent outbursts of laughter and the offering of enthusiastic applause. 

And in spite of dance routines and delivering lines both spoken and sung, not one cast member on skates teetered or toppled. I was impressed, as was the audience. They came to their feet in a standing ovation at the end. 

I enjoyed the evening. Elissa and I decided that  next year, even after Dayan leaves for college, we will continue to attend Carl Junction’s prodctions. Because is there anything more fresh and entertaining than a well done high school musical? I don’t think so!