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Arts & Culture

'Xanadu' Choreographer Remembers The (Now) Cult Classic


Intrinsically, I know the things I write online are available to a worldwide audience, but I never suspected that someone outside of our little San Antonio bubble would pick up on a review I once wrote of the latest DVD release of the 1980 musical flop (and now cult classic) “Xanadu.” I was quite surprised and pleased when I received an email from Jerry Trent, who worked on the picture as a choreographer.

Trent was understandably a little testy in his original email to me, wanting to set the record straight that there were *two* choreographers on the project, despite co-choreographer Kenny Ortega getting on the special features section of the DVD. Ortega is part of the mega-successful “High School Musical” franchise, so I suspect that swayed the editors of the “Back to Xanadu” feature on the DVD.

I wrote Trent back immediately, asking if he’d be willing to talk to me, and he agreed. Before “Xanadu,” Trent worked as a dancer in the Mel Brooks film “Silent Movie,” and as a choreographer for “Pete’s Dragon” and Stanley Donen’s “Movie Movie.” Since “Xanadu,” most of Trent’s work has been in sound design and Foley.

In the interview below, Jerry Trent shares his memories of “Xanadu,” including working with Olivia Newton-John (“a real lady”) and Gene Kelly.