Xanadu the right thing

May 23

<i>Xanadu</i> the right thing

Summer camp has started early this year, but not to worry. This is some high quality high camp.

We've had a few Bay Area productions of Xanadu, the Broadway musical version of the notorious 1980 movie starring Olivia Newton-John as a roller-skating light bulb, er, sorry, roller-skating Muse (you know, from Mt. Olympus kind of muse). The Retro Dome in San Jose and New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco both did the show last year, but having missed the show during its 2007/08, I was waiting for the Center Repertory Company production that just opened.

I'm so glad I waited.

Before I tell you how fabulous this production is – and fabulous really is the operative word on so many levels – I have to confess to being a Xanadu fan.

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Oh do do the Xanadu that you do so well

Dec 12

Oh do do the <i>Xanadu</i> that you do so well

When I called playwright Douglas Carter Beane to interview him for a San Francisco Chronicle story on Xanadu: The Musical at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, he happened to be taking a break from rehearsals for his latest Broadway show, Lysistrata Jones. That musical, a hip, funny adaptation of the Aristophanes classic, happens to rehearse in the same building as the Foxwoods Theatre, home to Broadway's notorious web slinger, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

With his ear pressed to his cell phone, Beane surveyed the crowded sidewalk and quipped. "I hope people don't think I'm buying tickets."

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Review: `Zanna, Don’t!’

Dec 15

Football star Steve (Stephen Foreman, left) meets the fabulously gay student body of Heartsville High in the musical Zanna, Don’t at the New Conservatory Theatre Center. Photos by Lois Tema Magic, show tunes, teenagers whip up mighty spell in `Zanna’««« ½ Clever, colorful, tuneful and sweet – that’s Zanna, Don’t! in a...

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Ramping up to the Tony Awards

Jun 11

This Sunday, the Tony Awards will be handed out. Here’s what you need to know (and get busy organizing your Tony party — we’ve got to get those dismal ratings out of the basement so CBS will continue broadcasting the darn things). For the first time, there will be pre-ceremony Tony Concert chock full of juicy musical numbers from all the nominated...

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Tony, Tony, Tony!

May 13

Tony Award nominations are out today. Here’s how it shook out: BEST PLAY: August: Osage County by Tracy Letts Rock ‘n’ Roll by Tom Stoppard The Seafarer by Conor McPherson The 39 Steps by Patrick Barlow BEST MUSICAL: Cry-Baby In The Heights Passing Strange Xanadu BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL: Cry-Baby by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan In the Heights...

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Show tunes! `Young Frankenstein,’ `Xanadu’

Feb 28

Am I getting old and cranky or are show tunes getting crappy? Probably a little of both, and I should say very quickly that there’s plenty of new show music that is thrilling, moving, funny, etc. But I’ve been listening to the cast albums for Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein and the against-all-odds hit stage adaptation of Xanadu. And I really dislike...

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