Published on April 23, 2022 at 02:36
The disco ball is ready to shine and roller skating practice is in full swing as Northampton Community College’s drama department prepares to open the regional premiere of the 1980s-inspired musical “Xanadu”, from 21 to April 24, Lipkin Theater, Bethlehem Township Campus.
The show, described as “a hilarious roller-skating musical adventure on the chase of your dreams”, features pop and rock songs from the 1970s and 1980s.
The musical, which was on Broadway in 2007, is based on the 1980 film of the same title, which starred Olivia Newton-John, Michael Beck and Gene Kelly (in her final film role). There are songs from Newton-John, Electric Light Orchestra, Cliff Richard and The Tubes.
The story combines Greek mythology with a 1980s aesthetic. A Greek roller-skating muse descends from Mount Olympus to inspire a struggling artist to open a roller-skating disco.
The film’s roller disco is named after Xanadu, the summer capital of Kublai Khan’s Yuan dynasty in China. The city appears in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”, an 1816 poem quoted in the film and the musical.
The film, “Xanadu”, was a box office disappointment, received negative reviews and was one of the inspirations for the creation of the Golden Raspberry Awards to honor the worst films of the year.
Despite the film’s poor performance, the soundtrack album became a huge commercial success thanks to hits like Newton-John’s “Magic”; Electric Light Orchestra’s “I’m Alive”, “Don’t Walk Away” and “All Over the World”, and the title track by Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra. The film eventually became a cult classic.
The musical includes hits from the movie and new arrangements by Eric Stern of ‘I’m Alive’, ‘Magic’, ‘Suddenly’ and ‘Dancin’; two additional Electric Light Orchestra songs, “Strange Magic” and “Evil Woman”, and “Have You Never Been Mellow”, written by Newton-John producer John Farrar.
The singers are accompanied by musical director and keyboardist of the NCC production, Lucille Kincaid; Michael Marini, keyboard; Chad Miller, guitar; Tom Pepitone, bass, and Jim Arrizza, percussion.
“The music is fun and leaves plenty of room for vocal creativity as the muse characters use their voices to create their own sound,” Kincaid says.
“For me, the best part of the process is working with this dedicated cast,” adds Kincaid.
Kincaid joins director Bill Mutimer, choreographer Tina Williams and technical director Brett Oliveira on the NCC creative team.
Kait Stein plays Greek muse Clio. Stein graduated in 2013 from DeSales University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Theater. She played Anna in NCC’s “Spring Awakening.”
CNC student Joshua Crowley plays artist Sonny Malone. Crowley was also in “Spring Awakening”.
NCC senior Justin Abarca plays the dual role of real estate developer Danny Maguire and Zeus.
East Stroudsburg Area School District special education teacher Barbara Wetherhold plays Hera.
The cast includes Amelia Illingworth, Trish Steele, August Gaumer, Noel Cruz, Deja Breitfeller, Max Wetherhold, Katelyn Morgan, Samantha Prentice, Connor Sternberg, Cade Kocher, Cassidy Bordonaro and Alex Kleinschmidt.
The NCC campus is optional with a face mask. Spectators may choose to wear face masks.
“Xanadu”, 7:30 p.m. from April 21 to 23; 2 p.m. April 24, Lipkin Theatre, Northampton Community College, 3835 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem. Tickets: www.ncctix.org ; 484-484-3412
“Curtain Rises” is a chronicle about theater, stage shows, the actors who make them up, and the directors and artists who make them happen. To request coverage, email: Paul Willistein, Focus Editor, [email protected]
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO The cast of NCC’s ‘Xanadu’ rehearse at Northampton Community College.