BELLEVUE - Return to 1980 as Bellevue High School presents the roller disco musical "Xanadu" this weekend. Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Bellevue Elementary School, 1150 Castalia St., Bellevue.
"Xanadu" was adapted for the stage by Douglas Carter Beane, based on the movie of the same name that starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly. The contemporary fairy tale follows a beautiful Greek muse who descends from Mount Olympus to Venice Beach, Calif., in 1980. Her mission is to inspire a struggling artist, Sonny, to achieve a significant artistic creation - the first roller disco.
The action begins as Sonny is trying to finish a mural of the seven Muses at the beach. It is not shaping up the way he had hoped, and he storms away in frustration. In his absence, the figures in the mural come to life singing "I'm Alive."
PHOTO BY MARYANN KROMER
Allison Guenther (center), as Kira, reveals her plans to the muses in a scene from “Xanadu.”
One of them takes pity on Sonny and appears to him as a mortal on roller skates, calling herself Kira. He notices she looks like the woman in the mural.
Allison Guenther, as Kira, encourages Sonny not to give up on his art and to follow his dreams. Austin Curliss is cast as Sonny. Both manage to sing and deliver their lines on roller skates.
The plot thickens when Kira's sisters Melpomene and Calliope (Shelby Black and Mackenzie Grant, respectively) become jealous of Kira and look for a way to foil her efforts with Sonny.
Meanwhile, Sonny discovers a dilapidated nightclub that resembles the background he painted in the mural. An old sign identifies it as Xanadu. With help from Kira, Sonny imagines what the place could look like if it were repaired and revived. He finds a phone booth and calls the owner to ask about renting it.
The owner turns out to be an aging performer, Dan McGuire, played by Ronnie Klatt.
At first, Dan tells Sonny the place is about to be razed. When Kira arrives, she reminds Dan of someone in his past. A flashback reveals Dan had met the muse more than 30 years ago, but she had slipped away from him. Having built Xanadu in the 1940s, Dan expresses regret that he lost his inspiration and never opened the club.
Dan says he'll delay the demolition if Sonny can fix up the place by the end of the day. Although Kira says the task is impossible, she calls in her sisters to help. As they all work together, Calliope and Melpomene stir up "Strange Magic" to transform the space and kindle forbidden love between the divine Kira and the mortal Sonny. This angers the gods. Fearing what they might do, Kira takes flight, even as Dan invites Sonny to become his partner to refurbish Xanadu.
The conflicts are resolved in creative ways, but not before Zeus, Hera, Thetis, Athena, Urania, Polyamina, Cyclops and Centaur get involved.
Despite their artistic differences, Sonny and Dan are able to blend their ideas to make Xanadu a reality. The story may be more appealing to audience members who know Greek mythology, although that is not necessary to enjoy the colorful production.
Traditionally, the muses have been depicted as females, but director Angie Bickhart-Sommers has cast two young men, Winston Schaffer and Cordell Rohlf, as Thalia and Terpsichore. Jalicia Ruttino and Kayla Burns play Erato and Euterpe, respectively.
Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and free for children age 3 and younger.