There are times when people are having so much fun, that they don’t notice they’re being inspired until later. This is to be expected when the audience is being amused by a muse. The undercover muse, Kira, and her cast of friends are rolling onto the Broadway Series South stage at Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium in the hit musical, Xanadu. In a time when the pressures of life can be overwhelming, an entertaining love story full of fun, great music, lively choreography and unexpectedly meaningful messages about pursuing your heart’s desires is well-received.
Thursday, Jan. 28 – Sunday, Jan. 31, audiences can experience the mystical story of the characters portrayed by Elizabeth Stanley and Max Von Essen, as they overcome interesting challenges and fall in love while mythological fi gures intervene with their Roller Disco venture. The cast members are no strangers to the stage and the impressive level of talent becomes evident in the singing, acting and dancing that is somehow enjoyably expressed while on wheels!
The performances of Natasha Yvette Williams, Annie Golden, Larry Marshall and Kevin Duda bring the magic of Mt. Olympus to the setting of Venice Beach as imaginations are sparked by the retro-fabulous costumes, chart-topping music and balancing-act choreography that can only be found in what has been recently called “the happiest show on Broadway.” The talents of Amy Goldberger, Veronica J. Kuehn, Jesse Nager, Vincent Rodriguez III, Chauntee Schuler, David Tankersley and Tiffany Topol also grace the stage in Douglas Carter Beane’s theatrical adaptation of the 80’s classic.
In an interview with Up & Coming Weekly, Stanley shares her thoughts about her leading role as Clio/Kira, the chemistry of the cast and her overall experience in Xanadu.
UCW: What is it that you like about the current lead character that you portray, Kira?
STANLEY: One of the most fun things about playing Kira is that she’s magical! I think it’s great that she’s superhuman and possesses the abilities to make wonderful things happen for people.
UCW: Are there things about the character that you can actually relate to or see in yourself?
STANLEY: I like to think of myself as a kind person who has compassion for others and also has a love for the arts. In those ways I can see myself in Kira who also likes to inspire people around her to believe in themselves and try new things.
UCW: I know there are many exciting scenes, but what is your favorite scene and why?
STANLEY: That’s always an interesting question to me because my favorite scenes change over time! Each show brings something different to appreciate and I fi nd myself saying ‘That’s my new favorite scene to do!’ But lately, I’m really enjoying doing the opening scene, “I’m Alive”; especially because there are new cast members and it’s a number that we all get to rejoice in and do together.
UCW: In your opinion, what are the lessons that audiences can take from the show?
STANLEY: One of the main things I love is at the end of the show the meaning of Xanadu is revealed, which is “To love someone else and to create art.” I love that theme. I think it’s so beautiful because it’s saying if you can do what your soul really wants to do in this life and then also share your life with someone special — that’s the ultimate reward. I think that’s a pretty deep message to come from such a fun show!
UCW: The cast is a very talented and experienced group of people. What is the chemistry like?
STANLEY: The chemistry is great now and it was great in the old cast too. The ebb and fl ow of the people involved is one of the wonderful things about being a part of a production for an extended period of time. This group is so lovely. Everyone is really excited and there’s so much talent and heart going into the show.
UCW: What is the most interesting thing (that you can comfortably share) that has happened behind the scenes?
STANLEY: Oh my gosh, there are so many things that happen! Max and I like to give each other a hard time. A lot of jokes are made during really chaotic stage changes. When it seems like we’re having a diffi cult time, I’ll ask Max if he’s seen my voice anywhere because I can’t seem to fi nd it! I like to try on everyone’s wigs and sometimes we’ll prance around in the hallways while everyone is getting ready and silly things like that.
For tickets and more information, contact the Raleigh Convention and Conference Center at 919-831-6060 or visit the Broadway Series South Web site at http://www.broadwayseriessouth.com.