Monday, July 25, 2011

Short Shorts & Tall Tube Socks

Photo from The Wichita Eagle's website

Do you know how hard it was to leave my camera in my purse when I had a front-row seat at a musical?

For my birthday, Randy got me tickets to Music Theatre of Wichita's production of Xanadu last week.

I got the tickets in June, but I didn't pay attention to the row number. Was I ever surprised when we got to Century II, and we were in the front row! I could have caught any roller-skate-wearing actors as they tumbled off the stage ... if there'd been any who fell.

It was pure delight to be able to see every expression on the actors' faces without binoculars. But I was good and didn't take any illicit photos after we snapped these prior to the start of the show.

Randy says we saw the movie Xanadu back in our dating days. I don't remember. Before I got the tickets, I didn't know that the failed movie starring Olivia Newton John had become a Broadway musical.

Even though the movie was a bomb, the soundtrack included five Top 40 hits, including "Magic," "Have You Ever Been Mellow?" and "Xanadu." The album by the Electric Light Orchestra stayed near the top of the pop charts for 2 years.

Music Theatre's Artistic Director Wayne Bryan told the audience that the 1980 movie version was "credited" with helping to kill the movie musical genre for a couple of decades. When Xanadu debuted on Broadway in 2007, critics couldn't imagine that a stage version would be any better. But it was even nominated for a Tony for best musical.

It's certainly not Wicked or Annie or The Sound of Music. But the spoof was just cheesy enough to provide an evening of laughs and a little nostalgia for the legwarmers, short athletic shorts, tall tube socks and the big hair of the 1980s. OK, maybe I didn't leave Century II longing for the fashion of the '80s, but I was definitely humming "Have You Never Been Mellow?"

For more on the show, check out the video on the Music Theatre of Wichita's website. And you, too, will have a flashback to 1980. Hmmm ... Is that a good thing?

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