It goes without saying that there was a strange kind of alchemy that produced a rare form of satirical gold when “Xanadu” hit Broadway last summer. Pre-show buzz was not much, and there were snide pieces pre-opening night that suggested the show wouldn’t last long. Now, it is a fact that whatever else happens on Tony night, “Xanadu” has already beat the odds and proven itself the little show that could, and may well become that even rarer production: the little show that actually did.
Well documented and deservedly praised is the contribution of Douglas Carter Beane to the shows success. His book merits a Tony Award and then some. However, sometimes lost in the shadow of the great Beane is the flawless work by an collection of comic performers with grace, ease, charm and skill. Without this cast’s intuitive comic sensibility, Beane’s comedy would not likely soar.
The muse of the production (or one of them rather) is Kerry Butler. Playing the role of Clio/Kira, Butler has earned a Tony nomination for her performance as a roller-skating goddess who comes to earth to inspire an artist in 1980. Butler took a few moments to speak with Broadway.tv recently, and confessed that though she knew the show was good, she didn’t expect the flood of praise that followed opening night.
“I knew we had a good show, but I wasn’t sure that everyone would get it… I definitely didn’t think it would be the high end people, like the New York Times,” confided Butler.
While playing a goddess has its privileges, Kerry worked hard to develop her grace both on skates and off. Her muse for this production, she states unequivocally, was director Chris Ashley. “Chris Ashley was definitely my muse for this. He helped me so much. He was on me all the time,” laughs Kerry.
Having found success on Broadway, Broadway.tv asked her if she had advice for young actors interested in pursuing their Broadway dreams. “Do whatever you can. No show is too small,” Butler says sincerely, “You learn from every show you do. I knew rejection from before I was nine years old, because I didn’t get Annie. So, that’s another thing, you have to be good with rejection.” Maybe so, but for now Kerry Butler is getting more accustomed to praise and acceptance… and maybe even a Tony award.