Music, Muses, and Electric Lights Orchestra; An Inside Look at OCA’s Production of Xanadu

“What’s more timeless than a Roller Disco?” This week the Siskiyou got an exclusive look at Oregon Center for the Art’s upcoming production of Xanadu before opening night coming Febuary 15th. We were invited to the Crew View- the first time the technical crew saw the show before plunging into tech week, and the first time the cast had a proper audience. This was the first step to finally getting the musical on its feet- or should we say, on its roller skates? 

Xanadu is a 2007 Jukebox musical based on the 1980 film of the same name, with script by Douglas Carter Beane and music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. The show features songs from the Electric Lights Orchestra, Olivia Newton-John, and musical numbers from the film. The musical follows struggling street artist Sunny Malone (Played by Aiden Jankins) as he is inspired to create the ultimate art gallery/bar/concert hall/roller disco by the ancient Greek muse Clio (Played by Corrine Maddox). But when her jealous sisters Melpomene (Georgia Black) and Calliope (Violet Love) decide to curse Clio with forbidden love for Sunny, hijinks, lowjinks, and roller-skating ensue. 

The OCA mainstage is transformed into a theater-in-the-round for this production, with the audience seated on all sides of the stage and actors skating in and out. With the audience so close to the action, there’s not a bad seat in the house! The set is designed by Sean O’Skea and Nina Schiefelbein, and is versatile enough to transform between the streets of Venice Beach and the towering heights of Mount Olympus. Additionally, the lighting design is masterfully done by mikE Stanfill. Rainbow hues glow from lights embedded in the set’s railing, adding to the magical energy of the show.

We’d be remiss not to sing the praises (pun intended) of the entire cast of Xanadu. Every actor onstage is giving 110%, and their hard work in rehearsal has paid off. They elevate this show from a simple campy comedy to a laugh-a-minute riot with genuine heart. Not to mention they are doing this all while singing, dancing, and rollerskating- sometimes all at the same time! With more than fifteen songs packed into this 90-minute show, this show is a flashy, fantastic sprint to a finale that is truly spectacular. 

Before the rehearsal began, a few members of the cast and crew were asked what their favorite parts of the show were. Grant Halverson, who portrays Danny, a businessman with a broken-hearted past, said that the rollerskating was the most fun for him. “I don’t want to spoil anything…[but] the 80’s costumes are so fun,” says assistant director MaryEllen McGinnis. The best answer was assistant stage manager Felicity Kountz’s, who said “I can’t wait for audiences to see the dancing-mostly in the song Dancin”  She’s right- with choreography by director Lauren Blair, the dancing is truly fantastic. All together, Everyone on and off stage has come together to make a fantastic show that will have you leaving the theater with a smile on your face. 

Xanadu is performing February 15-17 and 22-24 at 8 pm, with 2 pm matinee performances on Saturday the 24th and 25th. But the best part? All SOU students can see this neon spectacle For FREE! Drop by the OCA box office with your student ID or call (541) 552-6348 to get two free tickets. Run-don’t walk- to the box office, because tickets will sell out early. See this fantastic show before it skates off into the sunset. 

Photo credit: Marvin Walder

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