the weirdest roller skating musical ever
And it’s coming to Broadway! I just stumbled upon this article on Billboard.com:
The not-much-of-a-hit 1980 flick “Xanadu,” which starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly, and featured a double-platinum soundtrack with music from John, ELO, Cliff Richard and the Tubes, is scheduled to move to Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theater. Previews are to begin in May.
Word is that Tony Award winner Jane Krakowski will take on Newton-John’s role as Greek muse Kira, who comes to Earth to guide the listless career of artist Sonny Malone, played by Cheyenne Jackson. Ben Vereen takes on the Kelly role.
“All Shook Up” director Christopher Ashley will helm the “musical spoof,” which will feature additional ELO tunes, including “Evil Woman,” and original scoring from Jeff Lynne and John Farrar.
“I think it’s great to see the movie have a new life,” Newton-John tells Billboard. “The songs are all so amazing from that film, and I am so happy for my dear friend John Farrar, who wrote so many of those songs for ‘Xanadu,’ including ‘Magic’ and ‘Suddenly.’ He will have two shows on Broadway this year when the revival of ‘Grease’ opens as well.”
— Chuck Taylor, N.Y.
So if you haven’t seen the movie, you should at least check out the movie’s big finale on YouTube here.
The story is ludicrous! Basically, Olivia Newton-John plays Kira, a muse who emerges from a mural in Venice Beach, CA, and proceeds to roller skate around the neighborhood with some sort of freak light trail behind her. Being a hot, roller-skating chick, she inspires some young artist dude to team up with some old dude (played by Gene Kelly) and create a new club where people can come together in a choreographed roller disco led by Newton-John and her songs. But before that happens, the young dude and the roller skating muse fall in love and have to convince Zeus to let her go to the club’s opening, otherwise all would be lost.
After Kira and her muse sisters do a big song and dance, she is sent back to the world of Greek mythology. The painter turned club owner is bummed that his muse is gone, but lucky for him, the new waitress who brings him a drink turns out to be Newton-John. Yeah…I’m not making this up. Check out the entry in Wikipedia if you don’t believe me. Or just watch the whole thing sometime. Since I had no job last summer, I watched it for the first time in years
The movie flopped, but the soundtrack was a hit with ONJ’s “Xanadu,” “Magic,” and maybe the weirdest of the entire movie, ELO’s “I’m Alive.”
I say that the combination of bizarre story, weird roller skating choreography, and Olivia Newton-John’s hotness make Xanadu far superior to the other well know roller skating movie flop, Roll Bounce. Could you imagine them going head to head though? ONJ and her flowing blonde hair vs. Bow Wow and his ‘fro? It’s like pop vs. R&B on the hardwood floor of a 70’s roller rink. Check out some highlights of Roll Bounce here – just like a typical Friday night at Romar Skating Rink, Germantown, Ohio – without the ‘fro’s, of course.