Four years ago Pedro Amaral and his sisetr, Clara, traveled to New York City with $100 between them and two goals in mind: "to see a Broadway show and to not starve," Amaral wrote in his director's notes for the August production of Xanadu.
He called it a "series of lucky happenstances" that the siblings were able to purchase $26 tickets apiece for fourth-row seats to Xanadu, at the Helen Hayes Theatre at 240 West 44th St.
"What followed, and please don't judge, was the most profound theatre experience I've had in my entire life," Amaral noted.
"Disco balls," coupled with "magical murals" and "glowy ribbons" attracted Amaral's senses and, as if in answer to the critics, he added: "It's not that Xandadu's message was particularly innovative, moving or deep -- it isn't -- but I connected on an extremely personal level with the show's delight in its silliness, and the ability of that cast to embrace the ridiculous and turn it into art."
Amaral and his sister, with cast and crew from The Frenzie Performance Factory, have been taking their turn at the show, on stage at the Riverview High School auditorium.
Set for closing night tonight, Aug. 11, is the August production of Xanadu, a musical comedy about a Greek muse, Clio, who descends from Mt. Olympus to California's Venice Beach to inpsire a struggling artist.
The musical is based on the 1980 cult classic film of the same name, featuring Olivia Newton John, Gene Kelley and Michael Beck. That film, in turn, was inpsired by a 1947 film, Down to Earth, starring Rita Hayworth.
"More than any project I've ever taken on, this has been a labor of love, and for the last four months I have been in a constant state of disbelief," Amaral wrote in his director's notes. "Disbelief that this show even exists to begin with, disbelief that so many people wanted to be a part of it, disbelief that I was given the opportunity to help bring this silly little piece of theater that made such an impression on me to a new audience that might never have experienced it, and disbelief that you are here today -- the final piece of the Xanadu puzle -- ready and willing to share the magic with us."
Amaral's credits are for stage direction, choreography, publicity and program design and scenic design (which he shares with Katrina Ross, Wade and Frenzie co-founder Michael M. Mercer). Clara Amaral's credits are for musical direction and for assistant choreography. She also is the conductor of the orchestra.
Curtain time for the Aug. 11 closing night performance of Xanadu is at 8 p.m. Riverview High School is at 13111 Boyette Road.
CAST of The Frenzie's Xanadu
- Sony Malone — JUSTIN MARTIN
- Thalia — MIKEY REICHERT
- Euterpe — KIM DAVIS
- Erato — HEATHER BARLOW
- Melpomene — CINDY MILLER-RAY
- Calliope — AMBER McCOLLUM
- Terpsicore — JUSTIN BATTEN
- Clio/Kira — BRYCIE GAUTHIER
- Molpe — SKY ANGELICA RAY
- Pisinoe — JENISE VELEZ
- Aglaope — BAILEY DeVOE
- Thelxiepeia — JESSICA JACOBS
- Danny Maguire — GREG SUMMERALL
- Young Danny — MIKEY REICHERT
- Andrews Sisters — KAITLYN ALFANO, XENIA LOPEX, CHELSEA AUTUMN SCRIPTER
- The Tubes — HEATHER BARLOW, MIKEY REICHERT
- Eros — MEGAN MANNO
- Hermes — JUSTIN BATTEN
- Zeus — HAL GRANHOLM
- Hera — DEBBIE LOPEZ
- Aphrodite — PAULA SPANGLER KLEIN
- Thetis — KRIS SETHI
- Cyclops — TRISTAN WHITE
- Centaur — TYLER WOOD
- Medusa — JENISE VELEZ
- Swing — COREY WADE
ORCHESTRA for The Frenzie's Xanadu
- Conductor — CLARA AMARAL
- Keyboard 1 — MARK JELKS
- Keyboard 2 — MICHAEL M. MERCER
- Guitar — ANDREW COXON
- Drums — NATHANIEL KINTNER
PRODUCTION TEAM for The Frenzie's Xanadu
- Stage Direction — PEDRO AMARAL
- Assistant Director — COREY WADE
- Vocal Direction — MICHAEL M. MERCER
- Musical Direction — CLARA AMARAL
- Choreography — PEDRO AMARAL
- Assistant Choreographer — CLARA AMARAL
- Tap Choreography — AMBER McCOLLUM
- Dance Captains — JUSTIN BATTEN, AMBER McCOLLUM
- Scenic Design — KATRINA ROSS, MICHAEL M. MERCER, PEDRO AMARAL, COREY WADE
- Lighting Design and Operation — CHRIS BENOIT
- Lighting Crew — ALYSSA LIESTNER, WILL VELEZ
- Sound Engineer — JOHN RAY
- Set Construction Head — COREY WADE
- Costume and Prop Design — JENNIFER POPPENHAGEN
- Costume and Prop Assistant — BEVERLY MERCER
- Specialty Costumes — CARLTON JONES
- Master Seamster — CHRIS POPPENHAGEN
- Hair Design — DONI HOLMES
- Stage Managers — ERIN ODZIEMSKI, COREY WADE
- Stage Crew — CODY HEPNER, TY HUMPHREY, MONTI RANSOME, CHEYENNE REED, MICHAEL STACY, DESIREE VELEZ
- Publicity Design — PEDRO AMARAL
- Program Design — PEDRO AMARAL
- Photography — SHANE ROSS
- Mural Artwork — JOHN CHRISTIAN S.
- House Management — BEVERLY MERCER
- Box Office — DONI HOLMES
- Concessions — SUSAN WEBER
- TheFrenzie.com Webmaster — STEPHEN COSGROVE