The GMCW’s 32nd season brings us the campy tale of Kira, the Greek muse who is sent to Venice, Calif. on a mission to inspire men. As a result of this inspiration, an artist falls in love and creates his ‘masterpiece,’ the world’s first roller disco.
“The stage musical unapologetically parodies the movie and the music—it’s a really clever, hilarious script,” said Cory Claussen, who plays the role of Greek muse Clio/Kira, in a recent interview with Gay Life. “Because of this, I need to capture elements of Olivia Newton John or the jokes don’t work as well, even though I’m playing Kira as a man. The character is definitely a mash up. Consider if Fat Amy (from Pitch Perfect) and Hugh Jackman had a love child that took fashion cues from Colin Farrell’s Alexander but was raised by Norma Desmond and Keanu Reeves.”
Claussen, whose highlighted roles with the GMCW include Danny in Grease, Brad in Rocky Horror Picture Show, as well as Sam for the GMCW-commissioned Alexander’s House, has been a member of GALA choruses since 2001. He is looking forward to the exuding optimism that comes with this role. “Clio/Kira is this youthful, notably blonde leader of nine immortal muses who come to Venice Beach to inspire an artist to achieve “perhaps the greatest art of time”—opening a roller disco. Not at all over the top.”
Joining Clio/Kira on this journey is muse Melpomene, Clio’s deviously sassy sister played with delicious flair by Ryan Williams.
“There are two things I love best about playing Melpomene,” said Williams. “First, she was not a lead character in the motion picture and she’s pissed about that! Second, she’s not afraid to throw some serious shade over her sister’s sweet and sincere plans. You know the gays love a good diva and she’s giving it!”
Williams, who has performed with GMCW over the last nine seasons, has played The Madame in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the Wicked Witch of the West in Oz and Baltimore’s drag empress, Edna Turnblad in Hairspray.
With plenty of campy musical numbers to draw upon, audiences can expect incredible performances filled with bravado. “The final number, ‘Xanadu,’ is just total fun and will definitely leave the audience smiling.” Claussen added, “But, I think my duets with the two lead guys are my favorite—the classic sappy light pop rock ballad ‘Suddenly’ that I sing with the artist, Sonny, and an old school, big band number ‘Whenever You’re Away From Me’ with the real-estate developer Danny and his tap dancing younger self.”
Along with the entertaining performances, audiences will also consider the philosophic ponderings weaved throughout the performance. As Claussen explained, “Besides the obvious, I’d say [the message is] to follow your heart. But that’s probably over-thinking it—it’s a pretty accessible show. So maybe the message is that sometimes theater is just about having fun.” Based on the hilarious ‘muse-ical’ numbers, roller-skating artistry, and compelling vocals, I think we have to agree with our muse.
GMCW Presents Xanadu
Friday, March 15 • 8pm
Saturday, March 16 • 8pm
Sunday, March 17 • 3pm (ASL interpreted)
Lisner Auditorium at the George Washington University
730 21 St., NW • Washington DC