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Olivia Newton-John's echoes of long ago



Olivianewtonjohn I have a theory about Olivia Newton-John, and here it is: If she hadn't insisted on sticking to movies in the early 80s and concentrated on her music career instead, we'd have erected statues in her honor by now and she'd be filling huge arenas for concerts (instead of that hag Madonna.)

Sadly, in the year 1980, there was a cosmic shift in the space-time continuum: She made the movie Xanadu and our world was never the same. Don't get me wrong -- Xanadu has possibly one of the best soundtracks of any movie in the late 70s or 80s. Seriously. "Suddenly," "I'm Alive," "Magic," and the title song.

The rest of the actual movie? Too painful to contemplate. It was so unintentionally campy, it makes the Village People's "Can't Stop the Music" (also from 1980) look like "The Deer Hunter."

Xanadu Olivia Newton-John turns 59 years old today, and here's a suitable present: A pair of tickets to the new Broadway production of "Xanadu," playing at the Helen Hayes Theatre in New York. Just visiting the production's official website is a trip through time. And ELO's Jeff Lynne returns to handles the music and lyrics. What more can an 80s fan ask for?

Reading the reviews, it seems like the stage show has found the niche it should have aimed for back in the less humorous year of 1980. The New York Times called it an "outlandishly enjoyable stage spoof of the outrageously bad movie."

After other odd choices for 80s movies-turned-to-Broadway (Color Purple, Footloose), it seems like we're finally on to something worth celebrating.

[AP photo; handout photo]

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:25pm]


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