Brad Frey returns to the Royal Crown Players of Roslyn High School to direct their spring musical, an absurdity on wheels and award winning musical, “Xanadu.”
Reliving the 80’s nostalgia of romantic comedies, leg warmers and roller disco, “Xanadu” is a classic tale of boy meets girl, except that this girl is actually Greek muse “Kira” performed by Kelly Frank, sent from the heavens to Venice Beach, California, to help struggling artist, Sonny, portrayed by Mark Russ, to achieve his greatest dream, to open the first roller disco.
When Kira falls into forbidden love with this mortal, two of her jealous sisters, Melpomene, played by Bryn Goldstein, and Calliope, played by Jordan Resnick, take advantage of the situation with the other Muses along with greedy real estate mogul, Danny Maguire performed by T.J. Sheppard and a host of other heavenly bodies that complete a recipe of chaos with abounding absurdity.
“Xanadu” features the music of the Electric Light Orchestra and a legendary score by Jeff Lynne and John Ferrar which includes Top 40 hits as “Magic,” “All Over The World,” “Suddenly,” “I’m Alive,” “Evil Woman,” “Have You Never Been Mellow” and “Xanadu.”
“I wanted to do a work that was fun, musical and entertaining with a touch of absurdity that creates an interactive work of musical theater,” Frey, who directed more than 32 Royal Crown Players productions, said of his decision to direct the musical. “We seat a number of audience members onstage to complete the intimacy of our performers to the audience along with a stage built into the auditorium. Xanadu is that musical and of course the hit score and music of the Electric Light Orchestra with roller skating puts an explanation point on the whole show.
“I always want to do something new and different, and this show had the wheels.”
The 1980 film starring Hollywood heavyweights Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly was a surprise flop while the 2007 Broadway musical version was a surprise hit.
Xanadu the musical ran on Broadway for over 500 performances and was nominated for multiple Tony awards. It also received both an Outer Critics Circle Award as well as a Drama Desk award. During its run The New York Times raved, “Heaven on wheels!” And The New Yorker called Xanadu “the most fun you’ll have on Broadway.”
“It will be the most fun you will ever have on this stage with its facsimile roller rink, and you absolutely won’t be able to sit still,” Frey said.
Rounding out the cast are the chorus of Muses — Ben Heller as Terpsichore, Maya Behiri as Euterpe, Josh Fried as Thalia, Caroline Aruanno as Erato, and Rose Verde along with Sydney Sirota as Polyhymnia and Urania respectively. Watching from Mount Olympus players are Jonathan Schatzberg as Zeus, Isabella Soffer as Hera, Abigail Drucker as Medusa, Oliver Topel as Eros and Alex Russ as Cyclops.
The Sirens who are also the featured dancers are Maya Behiri, Daniella Futoran, Lanie Kotler, Olivia Rubrum, Lindsey Russ, Isabella Soffer, Rose Verde and Arianna Vigorito.
Rounding out the ensemble are Samantha Berg, Emma Dalessio, Julia Farinacci, Daniella Futoran, Maya Golos, Lanie Kotle, Nicole Lee, Samantha Matthews, Trevor Rosenthal, Olivia Rubrum, Morgan Sapienza, Gianna Segura, Kyra Sorkin, Charlotte Trezza and Andie Weiner.
Along with Frey, the creative team includes musical director Ryan Occeña, producer Diana Sabzevari, choreographer Nicole Bianco, costume designer Cathleen Marx and Erik Chocianowski along with Doug Sherry, who designed and constructed the exquisite set. The lighting design is by former Royal Crown Players member Josh Azoulay.
The onstage pit orchestra rocks the house with Frey conducting and on keyboards along with Occeña on keyboards, Jerry Hu on guitar and Jonathan Lin on drums.
Other members of the creative team include stage manager Rebecca Golden and assistant stage manager Molly Frank. The technical director and lighting chief is Ross Rosenfeld. The backstage chiefs are shop foreman Devin Rosenthal, Ross Rosenfeld and set designer Jasmine Ting and and set construction by Molly Frank and Edwin Torres.
The dance captains are Daniella Futoran and Lindsey Russ along with assistants, Lanie Kotler and Arianna Vigorito. Other chiefs include Sarah Golden for sound, Jessica Novick for make-up and Sam Matthews for costumes who is also the production manager.
The business manager is Sami Pye assisted by Nicole Lee. The box office manager is Alex Russ with Kelly Frank and the publicity chief is Rose Verde.
“Xanadu” will be performed at 3:30 p.m. Thursday and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Roslyn High School auditorium.
Senior citizens can attend the Thursday matinee for free.
To purchase or reserve tickets, visit royalcrownplayers.org or call the Box Office at (516) 801-5156. Ticket prices are $12 for adults and $10 for students.