PCT set to perform ‘Xanadu’ this weekend

Jonathan Riley
Morning Sun
Pittsburg Community Theatre performers rehearse on Tuesday for their upcoming production of Xanadu this weekend.

PITTSBURG, Kan. — The performers of Pittsburg Community Theatre (PCT) will be roller skating across the stage at Memorial Auditorium this weekend in their long-awaited production of the musical Xanadu

“The show is Greek gods and goddesses plus roller disco, which are two things that definitely don’t feel like they go together, but with the magic of theatre, we make it happen,” says director MJ Harper. “I figure if Oliva Newton-John can make it happen, we can make an attempt here in Pittsburg.” 

Performances of Xanadu are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 30, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 31, and 2 p.m. Sunday, August 1. 

PCT’s latest production has been a long time coming, with planning first starting early last year. Harper was originally set to be music director for the musical, which was going to be directed by the late Greg Shaw. 

“But when his cancer treatments required him to step down, then I volunteered to the PCT board to step up and be the director and the music director,” Harper says, “and they threw their support behind that, as long as I had lots of help.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, created another obstacle to overcome. 

“So Xanadu was put on hold,” Harper says, “and when we came back from this pandemic shutting everything down, as things have started to reopen, one of the things that the 2020 cast and crew requested was that we continue to see Xanadu through, and the board agreed, so we did.” 

After being committed to the production for so long, some of those involved have taken on additional roles — quite literally. Keller Erwin’s involvement in the musical was originally going to be limited to running the spotlight, but he now has an on-stage part in the production — as not just one but three different characters. 

"I play Bob, and Cyclops, and I’m a Cupid,” Erwin says. 

Faith Montemurro similarly had originally planned to have only an off-stage role in Xanadu, but will now be playing Eros. 

“It’s just been fun being able to roller skate,” she says. “It’s like we have our own personal skating rink here on stage.” 

Other cast members who have gotten involved with the musical more recently, too, say it has been fun to be a part of a production that will also be fun for the audience to watch. 

“Even being in the cast, every time we’re in rehearsal we find a new thing to laugh at,” says Caitlin Norton, who plays the muse Urania. 

“The show kind of makes fun of itself, if that makes sense,” says Sadie Dodson, who plays another muse, Polyhymnia. “It’s just funny, and the music is very catchy and really fun.”