South Lakes High School XanaduBy Cappies • Jun 4th, 2013 • Category: Cappies
Ah, the 80s — a time of rock bands, leg warmers, cell phones the size of bricks, and Greek Muses? It’s not every day one thinks of the Greek demigods as an 80s-esque stereotype, but the idea of muses in the 80s and how they interact, fall in love, and even join the dark side is put in the forefront of the musical hit Xanadu, performed beautifully by South Lakes High School.
First premiering in 2007, Xanadu is unique in that it was based off of the 1980 flop of a movie with the same name, which starred Olivia Newton-John. Although it was a commercial failure, the film gained a cult following, leading to the stage adaptation. The musical tells the story of Sonny Malone (played by Ben Peter), a chalk artist in Los Angeles, dissatisfied with his life. Things look bleak for Sonny until Clio (Natalie Pernick), a Greek Muse disguised as an Australian roller skater named Kira, begins to inspire Sonny with the help of her eight sisters, who are also demigods. As Clio/Kira and Sonny begin plans to rent the abandoned Xanadu theater, two jealous sisters — Melpomene (Michelle Slivinski) and Calliope (Helen Slivinski) — plot to curse the two to fall in love, which would send Clio to the underworld. Such a plan creates a hilarious tale of romance and drama, culminating in a trial by Zeus on Mt. Olympus.
As Clio, Natalie Pernick blew the audience away. Sporting two different accents and always moving in roller skates, Pernick owned the stage every time she appeared, excellently grasping her character and finding the hilarity in her lines. Her dedication to the role created a believable romance between she and Ben Peter, who also displayed a wonderful understanding of his character through sharp delivery of comedic lines and a stereotypical “80s artist” personality, both of which were needed for the show. Both Pernick and Peter displayed exemplary vocals, most notably in the duet “Suddenly” and the melodramatic “Don’t Walk Away.”
The Muse ensemble also performed well, each adding a different element to the story and each understanding their specific Muse well. Muses Terpsicore (Austin Bur) and Erato (Megan Desisti) were especially wonderful, both of them drawing attention in their comedic portrayals of the demigods and their unique mannerisms, they added to the character, such as sassy dancing from Desisti and hilarious movements from Bur.
On the technical side, the show was generally a success. Costumes, designed by Michelle Slivinski, were especially strong, as many were completely re-worked and made unique for different characters, specifically the Muses. The orchestra played impressively, always sounding in-tune and adapting their volume to match that of the actors on stage so that most vocal performances could be heard clearly. Lighting, led by Thomas Cusimano, was also impressive, especially because of its complexity, moving spotlights never faltered and the rhythmically synced lighting of the set at the end of Act 1 went off without a hitch.
Overall, South Lakes High School’s production of Xanadu was astounding. Although vocals were sometimes notably off pitch, the cast pulled together to create a wonderful show full of laughter and drama. Technically, the show was great, despite a few instances of minor sound issues. All in all, South Lakes presented a hilarious and heartwarming musical, proving that sometimes love may truly be a match made in heaven.
by Kevin Buckley of Stone Bridge High School
Photos by Michelle Slivinski
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/9549.