Brandon Fisher Jan 18 2019

Xana-do's and Don'ts: Life Lessons from a Middle School Musical

The 1980 musical fantasy Xanadu was not what you would call a box office success. But despite its shortcomings on the big screen, its catchy soundtrack has gone on to inspire a wildly popular musical that took Broadway by storm (an ELO thunderstorm). In January of 2019, this far-out production made its way to our very own Rittmann Theatre stage, in the form of Xanadu JR, performed by Concordia's middle school drama class.

You may be asking yourself what a cast of centennial tweens could possibly get out of the music and disco attitude of Xanadu. Well, it turns out…quite a lot. This production has way more than gold lamé and roller skates; it offers up a number of life lessons that we can all benefit from. Here are a few of these lessons in a listicle we’re calling “Xana-do’s and Don’ts.”

musical-theatre-xanadu-play-life-lessonsDo what you can to encourage others.

Personal achievement and success are great. When we do well at something, we feel fantastic—elevated. But, doesn’t it also feel fantastic when we elevate those around us through good deeds and words of encouragement? Just as with Kira and Sonny, sometimes it takes an encouraging push from a friend to help us see past previous failures and inspire us to pursue our dreams.

middle-school-drama-class-xanaduDon’t let negative emotions take control.

Jealousy. Resentment. Frustration. None of these emotions feel good, so why do we let them influence us? When we give in to negativity, we end up pushing aside the good virtues we were blessed with. And when we let our negative feelings overtake the positive, our lives are full of “Epic-Tragedy.”

middle-school-drama-class-xanadu-lessonsDo what your inner muse is telling you.

Sometimes a great idea comes straight out of the blue, like “Magic.” Whatever our inspiration, we owe it to ourselves to see where our ideas take us. Just remember that great ideas often require a lot of work in order to be successful. That was the case with Sonny’s dream. Before he can open the hottest roller disco in LA, he first has to clean up the mess.

middle-school-students-shanghai-drama-classDon’t be obsessed with perfection.

We can’t be perfect all the time. Sometimes we run the risk of failure. Keep in mind, though, that missteps provide important learning opportunities that allow us to make better decisions based on past experiences. Let's take Xanadu for example. The film version—not perfect. But it was inspirational, because from it came the musical, and that musical has given our middle schoolers a chance to share their talents; and explore these very life lessons, which is totally awesome.

If you're not familiar with the story of Xanadu, skip the movie and go straight to the theater!