GARDNER -- Theatre at the Mount will bring "Xanadu" to the stage this weekend and next at the Raymond LaFontaine Fine Arts Center at Mount Wachusett Community College. The show, with a book by Douglas Carter Beane and music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar, is based on the movie starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly.

"Xanadu" follows the journey of a magical and beautiful Greek muse, Kira, who descends from Mount Olympus into modern-day Venice Beach, Calif., with a quest is to inspire struggling artist Sonny to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time -- roller disco.

The show's director, Mark Peterson, who lives in West Brookfield, is in his third season at TAM.

" 'Xanadu' is a campy, fun show," Peterson said. "The 1980s movie was the biggest flop in Hollywood history, but five or six years ago, they took it and turned it into an absolute tongue-in-cheek musical."

The musical opened on Broadway in 2007 and ran for more than 500 performances. Nominated for Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Book, it also earned an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical.

"It has the same music -- Electric Light Orchestra and Olivia Newton-John -- and it's nostalgic," Peterson said.

With only nine actors, it's a smaller cast than in previous productions he has directed.

"It's a tight and dedicated cast," he said. "You'll sit back and get this great fun and entertainment.


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Peterson, 42, grew up in the era of big hair and discos, and is a fan of Newton-John and the '80s, so he was interested in directing "Xanadu." He's working alongside Gail Steele, the professor and theater director who chose "Xanadu" for TAM.

"The surprise, the challenge, has been the roller-skating and making time for the actors to practice," Peterson said. "At first, it was a little scary getting used to it -- no broken arms or anything like that."

The actors went to Roll On America in Leominster to practice their skating and have been working on their own quite successfully, Peterson said.

He hopes the audience will go home smiling, tapping their toes and nodding with the music still in their heads.

"It's a real upbeat show," he said. "I think they're going to leave saying, 'Gosh, that was fun,' " he said.

Cast members, including Terrie Hyde of Lunenburg, have put their heart and soul into bringing the production to fruition.

"We all work together," Hyde said. "Mark makes us feel safe and secure and, as a director, is open to the possibilities if something is working or not. I've experienced this firsthand."

Shows are Friday and Saturday, June 14-15 and June 21-22, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, June 23, at 2 p.m.

Weekend Best Bets

Shows

"Hats Off to 25 Years.": Diane Kelly Dance Studio, Sunday, 1 p.m., Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, Worcester; visit thehanovertheatre.org.

Swing Dance

The Juke Joint Rhythm Rockers: Dance2Swing gives a lesson to live band; Leominster Elks, 134 North Main St.; Sunday, 6:30 p.m.

Dinner and Music

Digney Fignus: Cajun singer/songwriter; Thursday at The Bull Run in Shirley; doors open at 5:30 p.m. for dinner, show at 7:30 p.m.; call 978-425-4311 or go to ticketsbullrunrestaurant.com.

Also at the Bull Run:

* Vanilla Fudge: Rock 'n' roll, Friday, 8 p.m.

* Erin Harpe & The Delta Swingers: Blues, Saturday, 8 p.m.

John Fitzsimmons & Friends: Traditional pub songs; Thursday, 8-11 p.m.; The Colonial Inn, 48 Monument Square, Concord, no cover; 978-369-9200 or visit concordscolonialinn.com.

Also at the Colonial Inn:

* "Working Man's Band": Tom Yates, Saturday, 8-11 p.m.

Wild Stallyns and Neon Alley: Thursday, 9 p.m., no cover; Gardner Ale House, 74 Parker St., Gardner; 978-669-0122 or visit gardnerale.com.

Also at the Gardner Ale House:

* Live Music: Friday, 8:30 p.m. to midnight.

* Rainy Day Activities: Saturday, 8:30 p.m.-midnight. 

* Sunday Downtown Brunch: Featuring Chet Williamson and Jimmy Morrell; Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

* Ton of Blues: Monday, 7-10 p.m.

Rock

For the Fallen Dreams: Metal and hard rock, Thursday, 6 p.m.; Palladium Upstairs, 261 Main St., Worcester, go to thepalladium.net/events/

Also at the Palladium:

* Comeback Kid: Friday, 7 p.m.

* Death Before Dishonor & Lionheart: Sunday, 6 p.m.

Comedy

Mark Scalia: Standup comedy in Boston, comedy clubs, colleges and universities, corporate and private events, and religious venues across the United States and Canada for more than 20 years; 9 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday; Biagio's Grille, Worcester, 800-401-2221.

Classical

Student Recitals at Indian Hill: Percussion Department, Indian Hill Music School students and faculty perform, Thursday, 5 p.m., 36 King St. (Interstate 495/Exit 30), Littleton, free admission, call 978-486-9524 or visit www.indianhillmusic.org.

* Voice Recital: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

* Piano Recital: Saturday, 5:30 p.m.

Garden Tour

"Rhapsody in Bloom": Presented by Indian Hill, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tour six spectacular designer gardens in Harvard. Live classical and popular music performed in the gardens; catered box lunch at Fruitlands, advanced tickets, $30/tour ($35 day of tour); $15/lunch. Event held rain or shine. Learn more at 978-486-9524 x116 or visit www.indianhillmusic.org.

Exhibits

The Tea Party: Oil paintings by Jill Pottle on view through June 21; artist reception Friday 7-9 p.m.; Indian Hill Gallery, Littleton.

Visions '13: Through June 30, juried honors showcase of the year's best original student work in the Communications Media department, an exhibition featuring photography, graphic design and interactive media; Ellis White Lecture Hall Gallery, Fitchburg State University.

Family Best Bets

Teens

Friday Night Video Games: 6-10 p.m., teen gamers (grades 7 to 12, no children or adults, please) are invited to "hang out" at the library and have fun with Dance, Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, the Wii, PlayStation and X-Box, snacks and door prizes- come play, meet some new friends and have a blast. No registration is required, Leominster Library.

Also at Leominster Library:

* "Mystery Girls Book Discussion Group": Girls, ages 10-13, Tuesday, 7-8 p.m., discussion of "The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy Tale Detectives" by Michael Buckley. No sign-up is necessary; please stop by the Martin T. Feldman Children's Room to borrow a copy. Please call 978-534-7522 ext. 124 if you have any questions.

* "Lucky Bob, Magician, Juggler, and Comedian": Kick off the 2013 Summer Reading Program, "Dig Into Reading," with Lucky Bob, Wednesday, 6:30-7:30 p.m., juggling and comedy that will entertain, 100 percent family fun. No registration required.

Puppet Theater

The Chinese Nightingale: Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. and noon, Drawbridge Puppet Productions, 1335 Massachusetts Ave., Lunenburg, for tickets and reservations call 978-582-1578, or reserve online at drawbridgepuppets.com.

Library Events

Preschool Story Time: Stories, music and motion, ages 3 to 5; Tuesday, 10-10:30 a.m., Leominster Library.

Also at Leominster Library:

* Just for Twos Story Time: Stories, music, and fun; 10-10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

* Read to Your Bunny: Children meet Tommy (the puppet), sing songs, listen to stories, dance and play instruments; Thursday, 10-10:45 a.m., Community Room, Leominster Library.

Lego Time: Join us and build your own creation with blocks we provide; Thursday, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Garden Room, Fitchburg Library.

Also at Fitchburg Library:

* "Stories and Shelter Cats": Thursday, 4:30-5:30 p.m., stories about cats and kittens and meet a cat or two, brought to you by Animal Care in Education; meets in the garden if it's a warm day.

* Toddler Time: Music, movement, and stories; 10:30 and 11 a.m. Monday, Fitchburg Library.

* Story Time: Stories, finger-plays, music and movement for all ages; 10:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Garden Room.

Nursery Rhyme Time: Stories, songs, movement, music, directed fun for ages 0 to 3; Wednesday, 10:30-11 a.m.; Community Room, Lunenburg Library.

Check your local library for museum passes and more information on the arts.