By Maddy Vitale
In just a day, the stage at the Ocean City Music Pier will be transformed into a 1980s roller disco with a performance of “Xanadu” by the Ocean City Theatre Company.
The show follows the journey of a magical and beautiful Greek muse, Kira, who descends from the heavens of Mount Olympus to Venice Beach, California, in 1980 on a quest to inspire a struggling artist, Sonny, to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time – the first roller disco.
Watching a rehearsal of the show Monday at the OCTC, 1501 West Ave., it seems the cast is ready to delight the audience with hysterical banter, illuminating costumes, cheesy tunes and dancing that rivals some of the moves of Tony Manero played by John Travolta in the 1977 movie “Saturday Night Fever.”
The cast includes Ocean City’s own, Natalie Ragazzo, a runner-up in the 2018 Miss New Jersey Pageant. The leads are played by Erin Whitcomb as Kira and Danny Drewes as Sonny. Other performers are Gabriel Rodrigues, Shannon Agnew, Hannah Breed, Kari Lochstoer, Andrew Pace and Robert F. Taylor. Music direction is by Andrew Hink.
“It’s been so much fun. This is a crazy, ridiculous show,” Ragazzo, 22, who plays Euterpe, one of Kira’s sisters, said during the rehearsal Monday.
Drewes, 28, of Long Island, N.Y., summed up the reasons why audience members will love the show.
“If you need to laugh in life, come to this show. You will be laughing the whole time,” Drewes noted with a chuckle. “This is truly an outrageously funny show.”
Whitcomb, 31, of Philadelphia, is the only member of the cast on skates in most of the scenes.
She said what is particularly great about the show is that even though it dates back to 1980, it translates well to 2018. A mix of musical performances that take the audience back to the 1940s and up to the 1990s will also add to what makes the show so amusing.
It will even poke fun at some of the songs of the late 1970s to the 1990s, the performers said.
The show runs Oct. 5 through Oct. 7. It features an original hit score composed by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar that includes “Xanadu,” “Party All Over the World,” “Magic” and “I’m Alive.” It is based on the cult classic movie of the same title, which starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 and 6 and 2 p.m. Oct. 7.
Agnew, the director and choreographer of the show, said with just two weeks of rehearsals, the actors in this small cast really had to pull together and work hard at a very fast pace. They rehearsed every day, but one, in nearly two weeks.
They are ready to bring their show to life and light up the stage with a lively, hysterical and memorable performance, she said.
“They are literally rock stars,” Agnew, 28, said of the performers. “They are having fun rehearsing a very pop-centric show. Their performances will be amazing.”
Tickets ($18 to $20) can be purchased by calling 609-399-6111 or by visiting oceancityvacation.com/boxoffice. Tickets are also available at the City Hall Welcome Center, Roy Gillian Welcome Center or at the Music Pier on show days.