With the day temperature soaring into the 90s, topping 100 degrees in many areas, it wasn’t hard for Maine State Music Theatre patrons to imagine Friday evening that they were in Venice Beach, Calif., rather than in Brunswick, Maine. Nor was it out of the question that the Greek gods of Mt. Olympus were laughing from above as they manipulated the lives of the mortals gathered below.

The evening was still sultry as theatergoers walked inside into the “cool” ’80s era setting of “Xanadu.”   Dancing muses, roller skates, an oversized mirror ball and disco music awaited all who stepped into Maine State Music Theatre’s kitschy utopia.

The outlandish throwback musical is based on the 1980 cult classic movie starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly.  It features a catchy disco score by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar, and a storyline from Douglas Carter Beane that brazenly goes for the camp jugular.

Maine State Music Theatre embraced the full campiness of “Xanadu” with gleeful abandon.  The proverbial tongue never came out of cheek as the cast performed the thoroughly ridiculous storyline about Clio, a Greek muse, who came down from Mt. Olympus to inspire a disheartened artist, Sonny.

At the start of the performance, Executive Director Steven C. Peterson described the show as “Xanadu” the movie meets “Saturday Night Live,” which is right on the mark. The musical is insanely clever and Maine State Music Theatre’s cast is a double threat: zany and extremely talented.

April Boyle is a free-lance writer from Casco.  She can be contacted at:

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