‘Xanadu’ rolling into The City 

click to enlarge Kitsch classic: Chloe Condon and Jesus Martinez in appear in the theatrical version of “Xanadu,” based on the campy 1980s cult movie starring Olivia Newton-John. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Kitsch classic: Chloe Condon and Jesus Martinez in appear in the theatrical version of “Xanadu,” based on the campy 1980s cult movie starring Olivia Newton-John.

Dig out your legwarmers. “Xanadu,” the Olivia Newton-John movie musical from the 1980s, is rolling into The City — in a theatrical musical version in which roller skates and gaggle of Greek muses command the spotlight.

Well that, and making dreams come true.

The show, onstage in previews now, runs through Jan. 15 at the New Conservatory Theatre Center.

Few would have ever thought the film version could have risen from the ashes of its box office wreckage — although it did manage to achieve a quirky cult status thanks to the hit songs it spawned, “Magic,” “Suddenly,” “Xanadu” and ELO’s “All Over the World,” among them.

But with its mix of camp and comedy, the tale of a down-on-his luck guy from Los Angeles finding inspiration in the most unlikely of places somehow became downright heartwarming.

“It’s a really funny show,” says Chloe Condon, who plays Clio/Kira. “People think of the movie and how strange and interesting it was, but this is pure fun.”

The story chronicles Sonny (Jesus Martinez) and his search for inspiration. Along comes Greek muse Clio and her sister muses — watch for clever casting — who disguises herself as Aussie-accented Kira (a la Newton-John) who dons roller skates, leg warmers and stops at nothing to help Sonny achieve his destiny of launching a hip roller disco.

The twist? Two mischievous sister muses are jealous of Kira’s bond with Sonny and set out to destroy her. (Daddy issues. Oh, that Zeus!)

Directed by Stephanie Temple, with musical direction by G. Scott Lacy, Douglas Carter Beans’ original book, combined with Jeff Lynne and John Farrar’s music and lyrics make for a fun time. And most of it all on roller skates.

“What [the stage] lacks in length, it definitely makes up for in depth,” says Condon with a laugh about having to maneuver the space the actors to pull off some feats effectively.

“But to have to sing, act and roller skate all together … it’s been interest learning the new skills.”

Take note: While duets and solos stand out, several company numbers — “Don’t Walk Away” and “All Over the World” — promise to truly resonate. An additional ELO song and famous Newton-John ditty add levity, too.

In the meantime, there’s only one more thing to know. Does Condon believe, as famed song goes, in magic?

“Of course!”

IF YOU GO

Xanadu

Presented by New Conservatory Theatre Center

Where: Decker Theatre, 25 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays

Tickets: $26 to $45

Contact: (415) 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org

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Greg Archer

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