Broadway regularly raids Hollywood properties in hopes of turning a hit movie into a popular stage musical. Think of “42nd Street,” “Grand Hotel,” “The Producers” or “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”
Swayed by the familiar yarn that success breeds success, theatrical producers often commit millions of dollars to transform a big-screen favorite into a stage musical.
In 2007, a group of Broadway producers hired Douglas Carter Beane, Jeff Lynne and John Farrar to create a musical based not on a hit, but a Hollywood flop.
The 1980 film “Xanadu” received mixed to negative reviews, but its soundtrack, which featured a score by Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra, became a commercial success and was certified double platinum.
The stage musical version of “Xanadu,” which combined hits from the soundtrack with new music by Lynne and Farrar, enjoyed a year's run on Broadway. This week, Lyric Theatre opens its 2012 season with the Oklahoma premiere of “Xanadu.”
“I think the stage production was able to capture a level of fun by playing off the universal panning that was created when the movie came out,” director Alan Muraoka said. “This whole show is a gentle wink at looking back at ourselves in the '80s.”
“Xanadu” follows the journey of the beautiful Greek muse Clio, who descends from Mount Olympus to Venice Beach, Calif., in 1980. Disguised as an Australian roller skater named Kira, she sets out on a quest to inspire Sonny, a struggling artist trying to establish the first roller disco. But when Kira falls in love with Sonny, her alter ego Clio risks banishment to the underworld.