By Jeff Walsh
Xanadu, the new Broadway musical based on the old train wreck of a 1980s Olivia Newton John movie, is hard to pin down. It's definitely a campy, amusing time at the theater. It has an excellent cast and staging. And it calls to mind other jukebox musicals like Mamma Mia, Footloose, Saturday Night Fever, only it never really lives up to all you hope it might be.
To be fair, the entire premise didn't leave writer Douglas Carter Beane all that much to work with. Sonny spends his time drawing chalk murals on Venice Beach sidewalks. He draws a picture of Greek muses, which comes to life, and the Greek goddess Clio becomes his muse and inspires him to follow his dream, which is to open a roller disco. That's pretty much it, as well as a score by the Electric Light Orchestra.
The show doesn't put on any airs, though. It is completely aware of its frivolity, one character even refers to the show onstage as "This is like children's theater for 40-year-old gay people!"