Limestone Had Big Influence In Recent "Xanadu" Production In Spartanburg

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 3:30pm

Several Limestone College students and a faculty member played a large part in the recent summer production of “Xanadu” produced by the Spartanburg Little Theatre at the Chapman Cultural Center.

“Xanadu,” which was performed July 14-23 at the Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, is a musical that follows the journey of a magical and beautiful Greek muse who descends from the heavens of Mt. Olympus to Venice Beach, CA. It is based on the 1980 movie starring Olivia Newton-John.

The Director of Theatre and Music Theatre at Limestone, Dr. Timothy Baxter-Ferguson served as the Director and Set Designer, and he participated as an actor.

Limestone students taking part included actors Jade Alford, Jessie Cantrell, and Zach Potter. Caleb Patterson and Jeanna Burch worked in audio/visuals, and James Holmes was a part of the crew.

“I am very thankful that Limestone prepared me for this opportunity,” said Burch, a native of Gaffney, who served as a spotlight operator. “Because our theatre program is small and intimate it encourages and requires that actors also learn and perform in technical positions. This makes us better prepared for our careers as future theatre artists. Being able to work in such a professional environment as Spartanburg Little Theatre was an honor.”

Holmes, a Gaffney native, also enjoyed his time with the crew of “Xanadu.”

“Doing a summer show with Spartanburg Little Theatre was an amazing opportunity for me to utilize what I have learned through Limestone’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program,” Holmes noted. “I was able to work on the same level as the established, experienced crew members and learn from their expertise along the way.”

The film was a critical and commercial flop upon its release. Yet, its dreadfulness made it a cult classic and provided the inspiration for a Tony-nominated Broadway musical of the same name.

“‘Xanadu’ is based on the truly awful movie with Olivia Newton-John, but it had an amazing soundtrack,” Baxter-Ferguson said. “Some years ago, Broadway producers decided to take the basic concept of ‘Xanadu’ and turn it into a stage show, which is kind of a loving satire of the movie and the ’80s in general.”

The show featured an assortment of musical numbers, including Newton-John’s “Magic” and a slew of Electric Light Orchestra classics such as “Evil Woman,” “Strange Magic” and “I’m Alive.”