Like religion, roller disco is a deeply personal thing. It means something different to different people. For Scott Ferguson, director of Xanadu at Playhouse on the Square, roller disco means wearing bell-bottom jeans big enough to cover his entire skate boot and visiting the snack counter for "suicides," an unholy mixture of every soft drink available at the fountain. "And boogying to 'Ring My Bell' every Friday and Saturday night," he says.
For members of Ferguson's A-list cast, roller disco has many additional meanings. For some, it brings back memories of "all-skate" and "couples only." For others, rehearsals on wheels and the bumps that come with the territory have been a nagging reminder that youth and youthfulness are two entirely different things.
Xanadu's a Tony Award-winning musical fantasy based on the 1980 Olivia Newton-John film about a young roller-skating artist with a big disco dream. And, weirdly enough, she also has the full attention of several demigods from the Greek pantheon. Needless to say, the movie was campy. The musical adaptation follows suit. And Ferguson, who has a long history of working with adapted material like Xena: Warrior Princess and Elton John's Aida, knows a little something about camp.
Xanadu reunites Ferguson with his Robber Bridegroom star Nicole Hale, who picked up a 2011-12 Ostrander for female musical lead. The cast includes Corbin Williams (Next to Normal), Carla McDonald (Grey Gardens), Courtney Oliver (Hairspray), and Kent Fleshman (The Light in the Piazza).
"Xanadu" at Playhouse on the Square, June 29th-July 22nd. playhouseonthesquare.org