In fact, Out Front’s “Xanadu” is a co-production with Georgia State University, and the last week of the run will feature a non-professional, all-student cast. As for the regular ensemble of nine actors, Anna Gonzalez is sweetly endearing as the main muse; her Australian accent is occasionally variable and/or unintelligible, but she sings (and roller-skates) well. Russell Scott is only marginal as the mortal love interest; several of his vocals were inaudible on opening night, but his “Suspended in Time” duet with Gonzalez is a lovely highlight among the songs.
Elsewhere, Arianna Hardaway smartly underplays her role as a villainous rival muse, at least as much as she can, given the show’s over-the-top tendencies. Poor Brandy Sexton, on the other hand, succumbs to them, wildly hamming it up as her sidekick. Also fine is Clint Clark-Duke as an avuncular real-estate magnate; “Whenever You’re Away from Me,” his own duet with Gonzalez, is another musical standout.
It’s really no fault of Conroy or his Out Front company that they’re working with source material as bad as “Xanadu” – – aside from choosing to go there in the first place, that is. Likewise, most savvy theatergoers will arrive knowing just what to expect, and they’ll basically get exactly what they’ve asked for. Skeptical critics, meanwhile, are on their own, to settle for whatever small or fleeting pleasures they can find, however few and far between.
Through Nov. 14. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays (excluding Nov. 7); 8 p.m. Monday (Nov. 1 only); 8 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 10 only). $20-$30. Out Front Theatre, 999 Brady Ave. NW, Atlanta. 404-448-2755. www.outfronttheatre.com.
Bottom line: Highly campy and lowbrow, but not quite “so bad that it’s good,” as they say.