I flew from New York into Chicago yesterday, going from colder to coldest. Luckily my flight was blissfully on time and uneventful. Upon landing I went to the Drury Lane Theatre and saw XANADU’s set busting off of the stage. I love it when our show seems a bit too big for the theatre that it’s in. It sets the stage (please forgive) for the show’s energy to overwhelm the theatre. The cast was in the middle of performing the song “Strange Magic” and it was a big relief to hear that the sound system was working well. XANADU, like most rock or pop musicals, is a tricky show to sound mix…apparently it’s easier to mix a Rodgers & Hammerstein musical than it is to mix TOMMY…and it usually takes us longer to get our mix right…you learn very interesting and very diverse tidbits of information when producing a show.
Then the press came to into the rehearsal and I got up on stage to stop the rehearsal and introduce our director, Chris Ashley. The spot lights left me snow-blind (I’m not onstage much & my last acting was in the 1980’s in high school), and my mike was going on & off so I promised the press that the show would sound better than that microphone and I, and then I got myself off that stage as quickly as possible. Chris’s mike worked fine and he did not go snow-blind, and the cast performed “Don’t Walk Away” without a hitch.
Last night we had an invited dress rehearsal of the show. The audience was amazing. There was one woman that Dan Knechtges (the choreographer) suggested we pay to come back to see every show. I love seeing the show happening again…it’s something that I’ve been working on since 2001, and I love seeing it come to life on stage. I hope you do too.
-Robert Ahrens, XANADU producer