There was an AP story on the Internets Saturday that floored me.
NEW YORK – Brandon Purves is the kind of guy producers of “Xanadu” only dreamed about. He liked the Broadway musical so much the first time that he saw it again. And again. And again — for a mind-boggling 86 times and counting.
“It’s nice to have an hour and a half to just laugh and not worry about everything else that’s going on,” says Purves, who works in fundraising for the Roundabout Theatre Company.
Purves, 28, is one of a legion of die-hard “Xanadu” fans who have fueled both excitement and ticket sales for a musical few thought would be a hit.
Swept away by the show’s upbeat spirit, devotees will line up at the box office to get tickets for another viewing only moments after the curtain has come down. They’ll wait to chat with the performers, organize group evenings and swap photos and stories in a burgeoning online community.
Such a reaction wasn’t always expected when the show debuted this summer. Many feared it would be mocked like the film on which it was based — the 1980 roller-disco flick with Olivia Newton-John as an ancient Greek muse who lands in modern-day California and grooves to Electric Light Orchestra songs like “Magic” and “I’m Alive.”
But critics embraced the satirical script and stars Kerry Butler, Cheyenne Jackson, Tony Roberts, Mary Testa and Jackie Hoffman. Even after roller-skating injuries took out key performers, the show kept packing ’em in.
Fans of ‘Xanadu’ fuel excitement, sales
Xanadu is one of my favorite movies from the 80’s. How can you not love Olivia Newton-John, music by ELO, and roller disco.
Newton-John played a muse named Kira who inspires an album cover artist named Sonny Malone, played by Michael Beck, when he falls in love with her. She encourages him to build a roller disco club. Along the way they meet up with a previous “client” of Kira’s – Danny McGuire, played by Gene Kelly – and there is a 40’s vs 80’s subplot.
One of the musical numbers featuring the subplot has a big band challenging a rock band. The rock band was played by The Tubes.
The reason I loved the movie was for the music. Most other people felt the same way. The movie flopped but the soundtrack was very successful. The song “Magic” went hit number 1 on the U.S. music chart.
When I read that it was a “satirical” adaptation I was a bit worried. I actually saw it in the theater in 1980 and didn’t think it was a bad movie. I have it on VHS and I’ve watched it more than a few dozen times.
Check out the cast of the show singing one of the songs on a talk show back in September:
Xanadu on Broadway