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The 2007 musical “Xanadu” was nominated, among other things, for Best Musical at the 2008 Tony Awards. This fall Highland students will be bringing it to a more local stage.
The musical, per its Broadway website, is described like this, “While roller skating on the beach, Kira, meets and falls for a frustrated record album cover artist named Sonny. Enter Danny McGuire, an aging song and dance man who Kira inspired back when he owned a supper club in New York in the 40s. Together, with the help of Kira, Sonny and Danny team up to build and open a roller disco nightclub called Xanadu.”
The musical is based on the 1980s film and is highlighted by a tongue-and-cheek sense of humor.
Highland Vocal Music Teacher Jennifer Wagner said she thought the movie was a little cheesy, but loved the adaptation because of the music and thought her students might as well.
“These kids hadn’t really heard a lot of the songs in it,” Wagner said, “But the minute they started listening, they were like ‘I love every single song in this show.’”
The sarcastic nature of the musical also fits perfectly for Wagner’s seniors, a big factor on how she decides what the productions for the fall are going to look like.
“This year’s seniors, they get the cheese,” she said. “They are very sarcastic.”
The leads for this fall’s musical are Zoe Mahler as Kira and Sam Smith as Sonny.
Wagner said the role of Kira required flexibility from Mahler.
“In the show she has to pull of American English, Australian English, and she has to have a southern accent, she said. “It’s been difficult for her to bounce between all three, but she can do it.”
Smith is new to the fall musical but has plenty of experience onstage after performing in the last three spring plays.
“He just sort of fell right in,” Wagner said.
Wagner said there’s more dancing in this year’s musical than in years past. This means more minimalist sets to handle the amount of bodies on stage for the large numbers.
So much more dancing led to Wagner bringing in Kara Batchellar, a former drill instructor, to help.
“It’s not me stealing dance moves off of YouTube this year,” Wagner joked. “Dancing is pretty foreign to most of the kids, but I didn’t hear one complaint.”
Wagner said she always chooses G-rated productions, so there’s no worry about bringing the entire family out.
Both shows start at 7 p.m. at Highland High School on Nov. 3 and 4. The cost of admission is $8 for adults, $5 for students, $3 for senior citizens, and veterans are free. All tickets must be purchased at the door.