Young actors bring disco era to stage

Deb Edwards/Commercial-NewsAmanda Brown (portraying Kira) declares, "They call me Kira!" to actors Chase Ogle (portraying Sonny), left, and Jack Zionic (portraying Danny) during rehearsal of a scene from the Danville Light Opera production of Xanadu Jr. Performances will be 7 p.m. July 22 and 23 and 2 p.m. July 24 at Danville Area Community College's Bremer Theater.

DANVILLE — Music lovers attending “Xanadu Jr.” might find themselves tapping their feet or singing along.

“It’s a high-energy show with Top 40 hits from the 1980s by Electric Light Orchestra,” director Barb Whaling said.

The DLO Musical Theatre Youth Program will perform “Xanadu Jr.” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at Danville Area Community College Bremer Theater.

This is the first time DLO has two youth musicals in one season: “Xanadu Jr.” for actors in grades 3-8, and “Grease,” with students in grades 7-12, performing on the weekend of July 29-31.

“Xanadu Jr.,” based on the 1980 film, is choreographed by Amanda Coutant and produced by Paul Strain.

Strain agreed that the play will be a treat for music lovers.

“It’s a homage to the ‘80s,” he said. “If you’re a child of the ‘80s, it’s your show.”

He added, “It has something for everybody.”

“Xanadu Jr.” is inspired by the Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical and the Universal Pictures’ cult classic movie starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly. The storyline will keep audiences in stitches while the original chart-topping tunes electrify them.

“Xanadu Jr.” follows the journey of a magical and beautiful Greek muse, Kira (played by Amanda Brown), who descends from the heavens of Mount Olympus to Venice Beach, Calif., on a quest to inspire a struggling artist, Sonny (portrayed by Chase Ogle), to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time — the first roller disco. The character Danny is portrayed by Jack Zionic.

When Kira falls into forbidden love with the mortal Sonny, her jealous sisters take advantage of the situation, and chaos abounds.

Twenty-five young people ages 7-12 have worked hard on this production, Whaling said, adding, “They’re doing great.”

She said, “It’s been a pleasure working with these kids. They’ve had nothing but a good time.”

This is Whaling’s first time directing a DLO show, but she has appeared in other shows and knows what to expect. Besides, she said jokingly, as a Girl Scout leader, she knows how to deal with this age group.

Not only are the young actors having a good time, but the audience will, too, she said, and they may want to sing along. It’s appropriate for all ages.

DLO Musical Theatre (formerly Danville Light Opera) has been presenting Broadway-style adult and youth musicals in Vermilion County since 1956.


Tickets for “Xanadu Jr.” are $8 for adults and $5 for students. They may be purchased online at, or at the door starting one hour before the performance.

For more ticket information, call DLO at 431-1660 or email

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