Xanadu on Broadway (Original Broadway Cast Recording 2007)As the 21st century quickly becomes the century of remakes, another unlikely movie adaptation takes the stage on Broadway: the 1980s classic? – and possible candidate for “worst movie ever” – Xanadu. Though director Douglas Carter Beane recalls being told that the show could very well be a “resume stopper,” that didn’t stop him from pushing forward with what turned out to be a shocking smash hit.

Taking the original movie and embracing the sheer ludicrousness of a Grecian muse on roller skates sporting a phony Australian accent, the Broadway show goes all out with a cheesy vengeance. Kerry Butler takes over the Olivia Newton-John role of Clio/Kira, and though her funky Australian accent is a bit grating after a while, her voice is enjoyable and gives the role a hint of allure.

Following the exploits of the hapless artist Sonny Malone and his adventures with Clio as they seek to refurbish the old Xanadu theatre and turn it into a disco, the music is lightweight enough to be fun without really giving much of a message. Every track is another reminder of the absurdity of the ’80s and, in fact the absurdity of the very film that the stage version is reimagining.

The best track here is “Evil Woman,” featuring Jackie Hoffman and Mary Testa as the jealous sisters Calliope and Melpomene, respectively. Though audience’s may have got a taste of Hoffman’s comical singing in her Garden State cameo, there’s much more on display here. A close second is the incredibly overdone “Don’t Walk Away,” an ’80s ballad tribute of epic proportions, backup singers and all.

Though no one could have predicted the success of the Broadway reimagining of the film, after a listen to the album it’s clear that these folks are working with something exciting. Whether or not it will stand the test of time is yet to be seen, but so far the momentum of turning a clunker into a winner is enough to carry the show on and keep selling tickets.

Zach’s Rating: B
Perfect For: Reliving the ’80s… on Broadway
Stay Away if: You hated Xanadu the first time around

To purchase Xanadu On Broadway, visit Amazon
For more information, visit the show’s homepage or check out the Xanadu Widget

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