The surprise-hit Broadway musical has rolled into the Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower. The musical comedy on roller skates is bound to lift your spirits. Xanadu delivers a surprisingly touching story about the nine magical muse-daughters of Zeus, who come to earth in 1980. Disguised in roller skates, leg warmers and Australian accents, they try to inspire humans to create truly great works of music and art. Zeus forbids the beautiful creatures from falling in love with any mortals. But all that changes when the young Kira meets the handsome artist Sonny, who needs her help in achieving his greatest dream.
Xanadu opened at Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre to critical acclaim on July 10, 2007 as the first new musical of the 2007-2008 season. Winner of Best Musical (Outer Critics Circle Award) and Best Book (Drama Desk Award), The New York Times calls Xanadu "heaven on wheels."
With a book "ingeniously adapted" (New York Times) by Douglas Carter Beane, and a score by Jeff Lynne (writer and producer for the Electric Light Orchestra (E.L.O.)) and John Farrar (responsible for most of the hits performed by Olivia Newton-John in the 1970's), Xanadu features the top 20 Billboard hits, "Magic," "Xanadu," "All Over the World" and "I'm Alive." Award-winning Christopher Ashley directs "at roller-derby speed" (New York Times) with choreography by Dan Knechtges.
Xanadu features scenic design by Tony Award winner David Gallo, costume design by David Zinn, lighting design by Tony Award winner Howell Binkley, sound design by T. Richard Fitzgerald and Carl Casella, projections design by Zachary Borovay, wig and hair design by Charles G. LaPointe and musical direction by Eric Stern.
Xanadu is produced by Robert Ahrens, Dan Vickery, Tara Smith, B. Swibel, Mickey Liddell, and Cari Smulyan.
MAX VON ESSEN (Sonny) Broadway credits include the revival of Les Miserables (Enjolras), Dance of the Vampires (Alfred), the original Les Miserables (final cast), and the 2000 revival of Jesus Christ Superstar (Disciple/Jesus). He has appeared Off-Broadway in Finian's Rainbow (Woody, Irish Repertory Theatre/cast recording); The Fantasticks (Matt); John and Paul (Paul McCartney); in tours of Chicago (Mary Sunshine); West Side Story (Tony); The Music of Andrew Lloyd Weber; and singing alongside Liza Minnelli in her international concert tour. Max also performed the role of Tremont in Jerry Springer: The Musical at Carnegie Hall (with Harvey Keitel). Regional credits include Sweeney Todd (Anthony, Sacramento Music Theatre), Mame (Patrick, The Kennedy Center), Simeon's Gift (Simeon, Bay Street Theatre), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Guy, Two River Theatre), The Baker's Wife (Dominique, Paper Mill Playhouse), Cabaret (Emcee, Sacramento Music Circus), Pirates of Penzance (Fredric, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera), Dorian (Dorian Gray, LA Premiere), Auntie Mame (Older Patrick, Bay Street Theatre), My Fair Lady (Freddy, Pittsburgh CLO and Paper Mill Playhouse), Joseph? Dreamcoat (Joseph, Sacramento Music Circus), Hair (Claude, Bay Street Theatre), Blood Brothers (Eddie, Downtown Cabaret Theatre) and various others. On television, Max has been seen on MTV, "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," "The Tony Awards," numerous commercials, and singing the National Anthem at dozens of Yankees games, including The World Series. For more information and upcoming appearances, visit www.MaxvonEssen.com.
ELIZABETH STANLEY (Kira) is thrilled to be re-visiting the 80's on skates! On Broadway Elizabeth was most recently starred as Allison in Cry-Baby, and received much attention for her portrayal of April in the Tony Award-winning revival of Company (which was also recorded for PBS' "Great Performances"). Favorite regional credits include: Eliza in My Fair Lady, Brooke in Noises Off, Sugar in Sugar, Amneris in Aida, Maria in The Sound of Music, Daisy in Side Show, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, and Lucy in the operetta The Telephone. TV: "Chappelle's Show," and Fox's "Fringe." She holds a BA in vocal performance and music theatre from the Indiana University School of Music.
Douglas Carter Beane (Book). Beane's play The Little Dog Laughed opened this season on Broadway where it received the GLAAD media award for best play. His other plays include As Bees In Honey Drown (Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award), Music From A Sparkling Planet and The Country Club. He wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of his play Advice From A Caterpillar which won Aspen Comedy Festival's best feature. His film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar was produced by Steven Spielberg, was the number one film in America for a month and is now a television favorite. The Big Time, Beane's first musical, received rave reviews last year and his next musical, a stage adaptation of the film The Bandwagon is slated to open on Broadway later this season. Fascinated by non-traditional forms of theater, Beane has written the revues, White Lies and Mondo Drama and this season a live theaterical soap opera. The Cartells. As artistic director of the New York theater company Drama Dept. He produced over forty productions, including acclaimed revivals of As Thousands Cheer, June Moon and The Torchbearers and world premiere works by Paul Rudnick, David Sedaris and Wendy Wasserstein. His new play, Don't Follow Me, I'm Lost, Too will open next season in New York and he is currently developing a television series for producer Lorne Michaels. He resides in New York City with his partner, composer Lewis Flinn and their son, Cooper.
Christopher Ashley (Director). Recent credits: All Shook Up, The Rocky Horror Show (Tony nomination), Sweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along for the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration (Helen Hayes Award, Direction). Other NY: Valhalla, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told and Blown Sideways Through Life (NYTW); Fires in the Mirror (Public), Jeffrey, Das Barbecü (Minetta Lane); Country Club, As Thousands Cheer, Rude Entertainment, Mondo Drama (Drama Dept.); The Smell of the Kill (Helen Hayes); Voices in the Dark (Broadhurst); Communicating Doors (Variety Arts); Bunny Bunny (Lucille Lortel); L'il Abner (Encores!); Between Us, The Wonder of the World, Newyorkers (MTC); The Naked Truth, Watbanaland, The Night Hank Williams Died (WPA). Film: Jeffrey (Orion Classics), "Blown Sideways",Through Life" (American Playhouse).
Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra - Originally a 1970 experimental offshoot of sixties English hit-makers The Move, ELO thrived under the guidance of Jeff Lynne, recording twelve original studio albums and releasing twenty-eight hit singles in the UK alone. At their peak between 1974 and 1981, ELO amassed a string of nine consecutive gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums. A double album masterpiece, 1977's 'Out Of The Blue' featured global hits 'Turn To Stone', 'Wild West Hero', 'Sweet Talkin' Woman' plus the song Lynne considers to be his greatest ELO achievement, 'Mr. Blue Sky'. Subsequent albums, 'Discovery', 'Xanadu', 'Time', 'Secret Messages', and 'Balance Of Power' were huge sellers, together with later hits 'Hold On Tight' and 'Rock 'N' Roll Is King', Lynne decided to disband ELO in 1986 for newer challenges. Lynne has since become one of the world's most in-demand songwriters and producers, successfully collaborating with artists such as George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Roy Orbison, Del Shannon, Tom Petty and Brian Wilson. With Harrison, Orbison, Petty and Bob Dylan, he was a member of the Grammy-award winning Traveling Wilburies and in 1996, his formidable musical talents were officially recognized when he was presented with an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Services to British Music.