Written by 12:33 am Costa Mesa, Musical, Review, Theater, Uncategorized, Vanguard Uni

Xanadu @ Vanguard University – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson

Are you a lover of the arts? Do you or have you ever enjoyed Greek mythology? Do you miss the 80s? Have you long nurtured a heartfelt desire to see star-crossed lovers roller-skate their way through romance? If this is you, then Vanguard University has a show for you.


Once upon a time, it was the 1980’s. In the 1980s lived an artist named Sonny Malone. Sonny Malone (Elijah Munck) was struggling with his art and felt sad. His pain impassioned Clio (Leilani Cranford), the leader of some ancient Greek muses. Clio is so moved she adopts a fake name, an intentionally ridiculous Australian accent, and the skill of roller skating for the sole purpose of inspiring this random guy to create something. Entering upstage is the most interesting part of the plot: Melpomene (Rezia Landers) and her sidekick Calliope (Jordan Ward). While the whole troop of muses is comprised of Clio’s siblings, Melpomene and Calliope are the jealous siblings, angry and resentful that Clio has been named leader of the muses by Zeus. They set out to see her fail. So a beautiful muse with a terrible accent is off trying to inspire passion and creativity in a goofy 80s guy. Her two evil sisters are plotting to see her fail. Romance is blossoming, all while the stage is bathed in bright, bubblegum pink lighting.


I was not a huge fan of this show. Not because of the intentionally over-the-top humor, which, to its credit, occasionally hits the mark, but because I found the music boring. Toe tappers are conspicuously scarce in a musical that puts so much heavy emphasis on exaggerated character expressions.

Story-wise, the actual setup is interesting—ancient Greek deities intervening in semi-modern affairs. Sure, why not? The thing is, the stakes are extremely low, and none of the characters are explored deeply enough to get invested. As previously stated, the most interesting scenes are with Melpomene and Calliope.


From singing, dancing, and acting, the cast in this show scores high across the board. Leilani Cranford and Elijah Munck had great chemistry, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t impressed with them for laying out a love ballad while skating around the stage in circles. I was especially taken with ensemble member Gabrielle Paul (cast in several roles, including Erato and Hera). Every time she was onstage, my eyes were drawn to her for her authenticity and energy.

7.7 Overall
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Set & Design7.7
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Above Average! Oct 20 – Nov 5, 2023. 

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