As one of the smallest theaters in town, you wouldn’t expect the Village Playhouse to tackle a Broadway-scale musical spectacular. Yet somehow they manage to cram in a hugely talented singing, dancing, and skating cast with Xanadu.
Based on the hit Broadway musical that was adapted from a 1980 cult classic film, Xanadu is the quirky, irreverent story of Sonny, a struggling young artist, and Clio, the Greek muse who inspires him to open the first roller disco in Venice Beach. Clio, who goes by Kira when she’s posing as a mortal, and Sonny fall in love thanks in part to her meddling sisters, Melpomene and Calliope. As such liaisons are strictly forbidden by Zeus, Kira must return to Mt. Olympus, heartbroken. Will the star-crossed lovers ever find a way to be together?
As Clio/Kira, Lara Allred is endearing and delightfully funny. She effortlessly slides from Greek muse to an Australian-accented mortal and back again, donning roller skates for most of the show. Her many solos are lovely; it’s easy to see why she landed the starring role.
William F. Haden is fantastic as the ditzy but lovable Sonny. The Ashton Kutcher doppelganger has dead-on comedic timing and a silky, sexy voice. This is his final production in Charleston before leaving for graduate school in Connecticut to continue his theater studies. See him here while you can.
While nearly every single cast member absolutely shined, Nat Jones, playing both Zeus and a greedy real estate developer, truly stands out. He is at once hilarious and charismatic.
Becca Anderson as Melpomene and Sam Andrews as Calliope are a great comedic team. Anderson has strong stage presence and a booming voice, while Andrews brings just the right amount of silliness to her quirky character.
Of Kira’s eight muse sisters, two are played by men in drag. Drew Archer and Randy Risher, both muscular, macho-looking guys, took on the roles with enthusiasm and panache. Dressed in flowing pink dresses, they aren’t afraid to make fools of themselves for a laugh, of which they got many.
The set was cleverly put together and somewhat minimal, which allowed the bright costumes and raucous musical numbers to take center stage. Director Keely Enright did a fabulous job of utilizing the space; it’s hard to picture such an imposing show ever feeling intimate, but this production did. It was very much interactive; parts of the set were elevated or in the back of the theater, and there were 10 or so seats set back on either side of the stage.
This talented cast has heaps of chemistry and creates an electric atmosphere in the theater. The animated dancing, lively music, bright costumes, and uproarious antics combine to produce a crazy-fun, foot-tapping musical that will leave adults and kids alike feeling inspired to search for their very own Xanadu.