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Home Arts and Culture  Curtain call: A vision in a dream
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Wednesday, November 20,2013

Curtain call: A vision in a dream

MSU roller-skating musical whisks audiences off to ‘Xanadu’

by Tom Helma
The debut show for MSU’s new Studio 60 Theatre is the charming and enchantingly infectious, high energy, feel-good production of “Xanadu.” With an outrageously ostentatious disco roller rink set featuring multiple photomurals and wraparound, rainbow-colored lighting, the set design alone makes the trip to campus worthwhile. Add to that a seemingly freestyle plot and you have the campiest theater of the season.

Is it over-the-top? In every respect.

To quote the opening number — “It’s Magic.”

The long, narrow stage provided video projections at both ends. Following the roller dancers back and forth was dizzying, and the proximity to the dancers was so immediate that one could smell the sweet smell of happy sweat.

Brett Kline plays ‘80s innocent Sonny Malone, a wide-eyed hippy-like character who falls in love with the Greek muse Clio (portrayed by Brittany Nicol on Saturday night), and begins a heaven-bent life journey to transform an ancient boardwalk warehouse into a disco-driven center where all the arts can merge. Malone brings a powerful baritone singing voice to his acting performance; and his duet with Clio (“Suddenly”) caused the grown women in the audience to swoon. He was damn good.

Equally good was his scheming warehouse landlord partner-in-crime protagonist, Danny, played by Dan Inglese with the fierce comic intensity of Al Pacino in “Dick Tracy.” Inglese’s singing voice brought out the tender side of his character. This time, all the women swooned.

Nicol led an ensemble cadre of diverse Greek Muses through a wide range of complexly choreographed musical numbers.

All of the Muses were costumed exquisitely and belted out a multiplicity of cheerful songs. Best was the juxtaposition of singers from the ‘40s, dressed militarily as the WWII-era Andrews Sisters, blended with glitzy black and chrome styled go-go dancers from the 80’s.

The dance floor featured complex roller arabesques throughout the performance. At both the beginning and the end, children in the audience spontaneously got up to dance with the roller skaters.

“Xanadu”

Studio 60 Theatre (basement of the MSU Auditorium) 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20-Thursday, Nov. 21; 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22-Saturday, Nov. 23; 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23-Sunday, Nov. 24 $20/$18seniors and faculty/$15 students/$8 children (800) WHARTON, whartoncenter.com

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