You could say it’s Xanadu, take 3, in a big way.
In the words of Anna Quillin, “It’s time to bring out the skates again.”
Friday night at 7, you’ll have one last chance to see the magic of Xanadu at the Arab High Auditorium. It’s a send-off of sorts for the Arab Musical Theatre cast and crew before they make the long journey to Nebraska for the International Thespian Festival, marking the fifth time for the group to perform at the prestigious event.
It will also be a bit of a send-off of sorts for AMT Director Brian Quillin, who will be the Technology Coordinator for Arab City Schools, a role he actually served in on an interim basis during the past year.
Quillin has served as AMT director since 1999, but felt the time was right for a new challenge. Friday night’s performance will be a chance for the group to fine-tune the show before a live audience, and also help raise some needed funds for next week’s trip.
Admission to the show is free, with a $10 donation.
“We just need a little more help getting there, and it will be one last opportunity for the community to see it before we share it with the country,” said AMT assistant director Taylor Hyatt.
As well as the fees required that amount to about $800 per student, there is the fine art of transporting the students with costumes, props and other equipment. But, Hyatt said Friday’s show is very important on all counts.
Xanadu was AMT’s fall show and it was performed again at the Alabama State Thespian Festival in February, even while the group was deep into rehearsals for their spring show, “Once on This Island.”
“We’ve had three separate productions in between the last time we did this in February,” Hyatt said. “So this is retraining our brains and getting back in the groove.”
Plus, there are no less than four new faces that are learning the show for the first time, as some cast members had other obligations following graduation.
“We have a few people stepping up to take their places and they have to be trained. But, they’re excited to go and we’re excited to have them,” Hyatt said.
The students and crew are working extremely hard in preparation, including an all-day rehearsal last Saturday. As the cast was nailing down their individual roles and choreographer Telisha McNaughton was working to get the dance numbers in proper line, Quillin and sound technician Nick McClendon were engrossed in an updated computer lighting program.
Quillin glanced up briefly. “We’ll get it,” he said.
To appear at the International ThesFest is a huge accomplishment.
“It’s a major expense but we’re proud to have the opportunity to go yet again to Nebraska,” Hyatt said. “It’s the highest honor for high school theatre in the country and for us to able to go for the fifth time and be featured on the main stage is a tremendous honor.”
While locals have praised the work of every single AMT production, “Xanadu” is an apparent favorite of theater professionals.
“Well, it’s got great music and the absurdity of the storyline makes it a fun show,” Hyatt said.
Anna Quillin stars as Kira and Mitchell Duquette as Sonny Malone. Besides the lines and music to learn, there’s a lot of roller skating going on, too.
The show centers around an artist, Sonny Malone, who draws a chalk mural of figures that end up being nine Greek Muses who come to life and interact with him.
Sonny ends up falling in love with Kira, who is actually a muse.
“Xanadu” also was a movie with Olivia Newton-John in the starring role, and, that led to a double platinum selling album.
AMT took “Little Shop of Horrors” to the international festival in 2007, followed by “Little Women” in 2009, “Pippin” in 2012 and “Zombie Prom” in 2016.