Tag Archives: Olivia Newton-John

Only At Wal-Mart Mamma Mia! Packaged With Xanadu

Wal-Mart is home to some interesting deals, and it seems they have a deal designed just for me, only problem is I already have both items they’ve packaged together. What they’ve done is get with Universal Pictures and packaged some of their movies together in little Wal-Mart exclusive packages usually for a great price. In this case, what was packaged together was Mamma Mia! The Movie with Xanadu.

No doubt the decision was made because Mamma Mia appeals to a musical audience that appreciates ABBA as that is the basis for the music in the musical. Olivia Newton-John headlines Xanadu as a very late 1970’s early 1980’s attempt to build on her amazing success in Grease with a musical like picture. What Wal-Mart and Universal execs probably didn’t realize the packaging of ABBA and Olivia Newton-John together is something that’s been done before. When ABBA won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest for Sweden, Olivia Newton-John was also competing in the contest for England. And when ABBA were making a concerted effort to try and build their success in the United States, they appeared on one of Olivia Newton-John’s television specials along with Andy Gibb. So it’s not the first time ABBA and ONJ have crossed paths.

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The Touring Xanadu Stage Show Returns To Southern California

One of the highlights of 2008 for me was the opening of Xanadu at the La Jolla Playhouse. The stage show that became a surprise hit on Broadway and was even nominated for a few Tony Awards, made its debut as a touring show in San Diego. Following San Diego, the show moved to Chicago and then played a brief stint in Tokyo before going on a brief hiatus for a few months, but now the tour is back on the road starting in Costa Mesa, California, just a short drive from San Diego.

I immediately fell in love with the show when I first saw it and then proceeded to see it several more times before it’s run at the La Jolla Playhouse finished it’s two month run. I took several friends to see the show and one of the highlights was when I took my mom to see the show as I was able to get on stage seats for that performance. I didn’t tell my mom until we got there that we’d be sitting on stage, she wasn’t so amused by that, but we had a good time and she enjoyed the show.

With the return to Southern California, I definitely wanted to see the show again, and since my dad was back from doing work in Austin, Texas and my grandfather was in town it seemed like a good opportunity to take them to the show. I asked my mom if she wanted to see the show again, if we did the Christmas Eve matinée show and she said she was interested but had too much to do to prepare for my brother and his wife’s arrival and Christmas to take time out to see the show. But she did like the idea of me taking my father and grandfather to the show so that she could get some things accomplished while they were out of the house. So I booked the tickets for my dad, grandpa, and I to see Xanadu on Christmas Eve at 2 pm.

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Xanadu Movie Screening Is Incredible Fun

The Xanadu Movie screening the other night was so much fun. Not only is it a classically bad movie, one I happen to love immensely, it’s got an incredible soundtrack, and the screening as a part of the Out San Diego monthly movie screening series was the first time I got to see the movie on the big screen. The audience was encouraged to sing along and talk back to the movie in ways probably similar to screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and so the screening became an interactive fun event.

The audience here in San Diego shouted back at the screen causing fits of giggles during scenes that were definitely cheesy, and others were greatly enjoyed by the audience, that by the time the movie finally progressed to the final scene in the Xanadu club and Olivia Newton-John knocks the title track out of the ball park, the audience was cheering in excitement. It was a fun night out and a much better experience than sitting home and watching Xanadu on DVD. Now to just get up to Orange County to see the Xanadu stage show again before it moves on to its next destination. Continue reading Xanadu Movie Screening Is Incredible Fun

Xanadu Returns To San Diego Tonight For One Night Only

XanaduTonight is the night that Xanadu returns to San Diego. No, it’s not the fantastic stage musical that was here for two months last year. (That’s actually opening up tonight as well, but further up the road in Costa Mesa.) Tonight, it’s the Original Motion Picture version of Xanadu starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly that is playing here in San Diego.

The movie is notoriously known for being a bad movie, as it has a very loose plot, but despite the fact the movie bombed originally, it’s soundtrack was a massive hit for the record label. The collaboration between Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and Olivia Newton-John (ONJ) on the title track, Xanadu has made the song one of Oliva’s biggest hits. Filling out the rest of the album are more fantastic songs by ELO and ONJ. Wisely, the songs weren’t put on the album in the order in which they appear in the movie, they were placed so that one side was the ELO side and the other side was the ONJ side. As the both acts draw different audiences, it made sure the fans of each artist could enjoy the work of their favorite if they weren’t as big a fan of the other.

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Xanadu Is Coming To San Diego One Night Only

XanaduOne of the previews shown during last week’s “Mommie Dearest” screening was that their December movie of the month is their FilmOut monthly film series would be “Xanadu.” While “Xanadu” is considered one of the worst movies ever made, depending on who you ask. I happen to love the movie.

I’ve been an Olivia Newton-John fan for as long as I can remember and I’ve always had a soft spot for the movie. And when the Broadway musical version of “Xanadu” was here in San Diego last year, I had to bust out the movie version a number of times to enjoy it yet again. I’ve never actually seen the movie on the big screen so this will be an exciting night for me. To give you an idea of how much of a fan I am of this movie, I have the movie on VHS, Laserdisc, two different DVD releases, and the original soundtrack on vinyl, as well as three copies of it on CD. (The first was a cheap Australian release, the second was when it was finally released in the US with a really nice job done on the liner notes, and the third copy is because it was included for free with the latest DVD version.) And as for the stage show, I saw it eight times when it was here at the La Jolla Playhouse. And I am looking forward to it coming to Orange County later this year too.

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The 9 Most Incredible Things Of 2008 In Ryan’s Incredible World

Now that 2009 is now upon us, it seems that it would be good to take a few minutes to highlight what made high points for me in 2008. Taking a quick glance at the list of items that made the list this year, it seems that the very early 1980’s seem to be related to almost all of the items that make the list for this year. The influence of the 1980’s will be readily apparent as you check out the list. And I’ll point those out along the way for those who might not quite see the influence.

Without further ado, I now present My 9 Most Incredible Things of 2008, in no particular order… Continue reading The 9 Most Incredible Things Of 2008 In Ryan’s Incredible World

Xanadu Works Its Magic In San Diego

Last night I took the opportunity to check out the new stage version of Xanadu that is currently playing at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. Technically I have a ticket for the show next week, but I got an offer in my e-mail to see the show earlier through Goldstar and at bargain price, so why not take a chance and go.

The seat I ended up with was an on-stage seat. Basically how the set is structured is that it looks a little like a Ancient Greek amphitheatre with a main performance area at the front of the stage and some tiered seating towards the back of the stage where additional audience members get seated and fill out the presence on stage. Sections of the on stage seating are left empty so that the cast members can sit and be part of the background and jump back into the show when appropriately timed. Additionally some props for them are stashed in the seating for use during the show as well.

Unlike regular seats, we had to be given a briefing on what we were expected to do which is basically have fun and stay seated until the orchestra plays its final note. There would be no chances for a bathroom break and if we had to leave, we could but would not be able to return to the stage seats. And we would not be issued our copies of the playbill until after the show. The show runs about ninety minutes so no problem there. We were also issued a glow stick and instructed that we would be told by the cast when it is time to break the glow stick to activate it and wave it around.

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Dolly Parton Ties for 1st Place with Corey Hart

Last night, Dolly Parton tied with Corey Hart as big name performer/act I’ve seen the most times in concert. Her performance at Humphrey’s By The Bay in San Diego, brings the total of times I’ve seen Dolly Parton in concert up to a total of four times. While four doesn’t sound like a lot, but for me, most artists, I’m quite content to say I’ve seen them once and that’s enough.

Corey Hart is an especially significant act for me because one of his concerts was the very first time I ever went to a concert. I first got to see him way back in early 1986 when his tour of Canada promoting his “Boy In The Box” album finally hit Calgary. I loved the energy and it was just an amazing experience to see. I kind of lost touch with Corey Hart and his music after having moved to Southern California in summer of 1986 until the mid 1995 when I joined an ABBA mailing list of all things and met an Australian online, Luke Rogers, who posted a profile and stated Corey Hart was another artist he really liked and that became a catalyst to striking up a conversation with him.

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