Reston Players to Present XANADU, Begin. 3/7
Sick of the never-ending winter? Find your leg warmers, grab your roller skates, and travel back in time with the Reston Players to sunny California in the 1980s for their upcoming production of the irreverent frothy musical Xanadu.
Director Joshua Redford said Xanadu is sure to be a crowd pleaser. "How do you follow up an epic and engrossing crowd pleaser like LES MISERABLES?" Redford asked. "You do it with roller skating, leg warmers, disco balls, ELO, and Olivia Newton -John. The only thing this show is missing is a dog and a kid. Believe me, if I had my bulldog, Francis, from Legally Blonde, I'm sure I could've found a way to work him in."
Xanadu is a light-hearted tongue-in-cheek musical adventure based on the 1980 cult classic Olivia Newton-John/Gene Kelly film and featuring an award winning book by Douglas Carter Beane. It tells the story of Kira, a magical and beautiful Greek muse who descends from the heavens to inspire struggling artist Sonny to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time - the first ROLLER DISCO! Chaos abounds as Kira defies the laws of Zeus and falls in love with Sonny while struggling to outwit her jealous sister muses.
The score retains the hits from the film and also includes new arrangements by Eric Stern of "I'm Alive," "Magic," "Suddenly," and "Dancin'," as well as interpolating two classic Electric Light Orchestra songs, "Strange Magic" and "Evil Woman," plus John Farrar's "Have You Never Been Mellow."
"Whenever directing a comedy a director needs to decide how far is too far," Redford said. "It is very easy to play for cheap laughs, but in doing so I believe you lose the sincerity and the heart of the story. At the core, Xanadu is a love story. It's about a love for your art and what happens when you give up your love, and what happens when you pursue your love, no matter how daunting the task."
Richard Durkin, originally from Chatham, MA, will be playing the dual roles of Zeus, the chief god of Mount Olympus, and Danny, the king of Los Angeles real estate. He last appeared at Reston Players in The Drowsy Chaperone as Underling, the singing and dancing butler. "When (director) Josh Redford noted that he was looking for someone more "mature" to play the role of Danny/Zeus, I just had to audition," Durkin said. "Not everyone gets to be the #1 Greek God, and an LA real estate tycoon in one show! It also gives us all the chance to relive a bit of the 80's again."
Russell Silber of Falls Church, VA plays the struggling artist Sonny Malone. Russell has performed in everything from opera to murder mystery in theaters all over Southern Maryland, Washington D.C., and Northern Virginia. This season he had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Xanadu cast mates Sean Cator and Evie Korovesis in the WATCH nominated A Chorus Line at The Arlington Players. "The ridiculous premise and catchy pop rock score trick you into thinking it's a simple show, but there's a lot going on there," Silber said. "It would have been easy for the show to simply lampoon a bad movie but that wouldn't resonate with audiences the way this show has. Through all the jokes, 80s references, and jabs at the film, there's something lovable and endearing about these goofballs. I think audiences will be surprised at the stakes these characters deal with and how much you root for them to succeed, even as you're laughing at them."
Evie Korovesis of Alexandria, plays Kira, the muse who inspires the roller disco. Korovesis, whose past shows with Reston Players have included The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Lend Me a Tenor, and Legally Blonde, said learning how to roller skate was the hardest part of preparing for the role. "I never roller skated before this role," she said. "Okay, so we all went to the roller rink for birthday parties when we were younger, but I was the one who sat on the side and watched. It's been a journey but I'm so proud of myself for trying something out of my comfort zone in a place where I feel the most comfortable: on stage."