It's an understatement to say that Brooks' latest theater production is a departure from tradition. Both the venue and the style are brand new. The musical, Xanadu, will be the first show performed off-campus – and on roller skates!
A Tony Award-nominated comedy based on the 1980 movie starring Olivia Newton-John, Xanadu will be staged by Brooks tonight, February 15, through February 17 from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. at The Pike School in neighboring Andover, Mass.
The musical comedy, featuring 80's pop/rock tunes, stunning lighting and costumes, disco balls and roller skates "is a great mid-February escape," said Director of Theater and Chair of the Arts Department Robert Lazar.
Visit the Arts page to learn more about theater, music, dance and visual arts programs at Brooks
The story – about a magical Greek muse who journeys to Venice Beach, California and inspires an artist to create the first roller disco – was selected because Lazar said, "We needed a show that would be both challenging and rewarding for the actors and production crew."
Making it their own was certainly a journey for Brooks' production and stage management crews, as well as the actors.
"I have to admit, I underestimated the amount of time it would take to stage the final roller skating number," said Lazar. "That being said, I am so proud of where the students are now – especially considering some had never been on skates before and much of the first few rehearsals were spent on lessons and how to safely skate... and fall."
After months of practice "the students have taken words on a page and transformed them into something we could see, feel and connect to in a deeper way," he added. "They've been working together to create something meaningful, both for themselves and for their audience ... I hope viewers are able to be transported to a place where they can see and feel the story that is being presented and learn, even if it is just a bit, from it."
The experience of working on this production has already made an impact on the actors. "Each student has had their own moment of triumph," said Lazar. "For some, it was just getting onstage in front of an audience. For others, it was pushing themselves to present a character in a new and unique way."
The most commendable aspect of it all, though, the director insisted, is the crew's commitment. "The students who really wanted a part, even when they were not cast in those roles, still gave everything they had, to the performance, to their peers, and to their unwavering commitment to making this the best experience possible." All that's left now is to enjoy, actors and audiences alike!
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