The Eccles Theatre in Weber State University’s Val A. Browning Center was once again filled with big hair, short denim shorts and leg warmers on Feb. 3 and 4.
In order to raise funds for an upcoming festival, theater students tied on their roller skates and returned to the 80s for three encore performances of Xanadu, directed by Jim Christian.
Every seat in the theater was filled Friday as students, alumni and the community came to support the Performing Arts Department. Patrick Kiddie, an actor who has done shows with director Jim Christian in the past, came to see the encore performance for the third time.
“I think the play is awesome. It is just so incredible . . . it is the funniest show I have ever seen,” Kiddie said. “It is just based in humor and is all a farce; it is fantastic and written so well.”
Tickets were $15 dollars per person and all proceeds will fund the 44th Annual Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) which will run from Feb. 7 -11. WSU is hosting the festival this year for the first time
The purpose of the encore performances was twofold: to raise funds for the festival and also serve as rehearsal for the actors. Xanadu will take the stage three times during the festival on Wednesday, Feb. 8.
Sean Bishop and Breanne Welch, the two lead actors in the musical, were together when they found out that Xanadu was among the performances selected for KCACTF.
“We were actually together having brunch, and our director Jim called and told us,” Bishop said. “We were all so excited and had hoped it was good enough.”
The play is based on the book Xanadu by Douglas Carter Beane, with music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. A movie was made starring Olivia Newton John in 1980, and a stage musical of the same name also opened on Broadway in 2007.
The plot follows a young man named Sonny (Bishop) who is an artist lacking inspiration. Clio/Kira (Welch) is a magical muse who comes to earth and inspires Sonny to find his own Xanadu. Kira meets Sonny and tries to help him achieve his dreams by creating the first roller disco.
Both Bishop and Welch said they are thrilled that the festival is taking place on their very own campus. While both have attended KCACTF, neither has performed in one of the featured shows.
“It is our last semester. We are both graduating, and it is our big show,” Bishop said. “We both get to have these cool roles, and it is just so fun.”
Welch said she is excited to show the other universities just what WSU is all about.
“In this festival we really do have a reputation of bringing amazing shows and really knowing our stuff,” Welch said. “I am excited for them to come here and to see where the work comes from and the people that we learn it from.”
According to kcactf.org, WSU is part of Region 8 in this festival, which includes southern California, southern Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Hawaii.
Theater students will be on campus from Feb. 7 – 11 and will be participating in workshops and various performances. The ten productions that have been invited include The Elephant Man, Eurydice and Suddenly Last Summer.
This event serves as an audition for universities that may go on to compete at the national festival in Washington, D.C. this April at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Registration is required to attend, and all information can be found at www.kcactf-8festivalinfo.org.