The Xanadu aesthetic? That’s easy. “Think Casey Kasem–meets–Greek mythology–meets–drug-addled hallucinatory fluorescent roller derby,” says Christopher Ashley, director of the musical production—performed in part on roller skates—that hits Chicago in January. To help visualize the exceedingly campy universe, we grilled Ashley for specifics on the musical’s most crucial element: its props.

Glow sticks

Glow sticks

Since opening on Broadway in 2007, the show has gone through more than a quarter-million units of a six-inch model that stays alit for 12 hours (northernlightsticks.com). “There have been times when, if you wanted to buy a glow stick, you couldn’t because we had all of them,” Ashley says.


Roller skates

Roller skates

A staffer whose sole job is skate maintenance looks after the four-wheelers (black Riedells for the boys, white or pink Labedas for the ladies). “The actors freak out if anyone changes anything about their skates,” Ashley says. “They’re like customized cars.” Want your own pair? It’ll cost you. Custom-built Riedells and Labedas run as much as $800. 

Leg warmers

Not just a fashion statement, but a way of life. The cast warm up their calves with pale pink, baby blue, and black Capezios studded with sequins and glitter. “We tried knitting them ourselves at first, but it ended up that it was easier to buy them,” Ashley says.


Ultrashort shorts

Ultrashort shorts

Ashley says male cast members “felt pornographic” upon first donning the bun-hugging bottoms. “They stop being embarrassed when they start relishing the wolf whistles from the audience.”


Disco ball

Disco balls

“One mirror ball is good; 80 is better,” Ashley says. The show uses about 100 different sizes from discomirrorball.com and starlight.com.


GO » Opens Jan 16. Call for times. $25-$87.50. Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place, 175 E Chestnut. ticketmaster.com.

Photography: (Disco Ball) © Donall O Cleirigh/Istockphoto.Com, (Elizabeth Stanley And Max Von Essen) Carol Rosegg



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