[Interview] “Xanadu” Stars, Landree Fleming and Jim DeSelm, Talk Theatre and Mythology with BTSCelebs

Landree Fleming Headshot

BTSCelebs: Who is Landree Fleming?

A more than semi-weirdo who laughs too much at her own jokes and lives her life as if every moment is a high stakes scene, while at the same time really enjoying very quiet activities like reading and exercising and watching television.

What was it like filling Olivia Newton-John’s shoes in the iconic role of Kira?

It was super fun! Because it is so iconic, it was important to watch the movie and be influenced by who Olivia is and the way that she played her character, as well as understanding the style of the film. From there, I made sure that my portrayal of Kira had my own flavor, if you will.

What is your opinion of the original film?

I love it. It’s silly and fun and has Gene Kelly and random cartoon montages. What’s not to love?

“Xanadu” deals with mythology. If you had the ability to be a goddess in Greek mythology who would you be and why?

This is tough! I’m going to say Iris, because she’s both a goddess of the rainbow (which, rainbows are lovely) and a messenger to the gods (excellent stories and gossip.)

What can we look forward to seeing you in for the remainder of 2016 and 2017?

I have a show coming up later this year so the announcement will probably happen in a couple months. My comedy group, Off Off Broadzway, is performing this August at Stage 773. Also I like to do stand up open mics around town, and you can listen to my podcast Deep Dish on iTunes!

This or That special. Please choose one word from each that matches your personality the best:

Zeus or Hades: Hades (The Disney Hercules version)

Aphrodite or Athena: Aphrodite, though I do love me some math like Athena

Mount Olympus or The Pantheon: Mount Olympus

Xanadu or Chicago: Xanadu, because Xanadu can be anywhere, including Chicago! “To love someone else and to create art. That is Xanadu!”

History or The Future: Is choosing the Present cheating?

Ballet or Broadway: Broadway

Film or Theatre: Theatre, though I LOVE going to the movies

Thank you for interviewing me, I loved these questions!


Jim DeSelm Headshot

Who is Jim DeSelm?

Well, considering how long it has taken him to answer this question, he’s someone who really doesn’t do well talking about himself. My wife said I should start by talking about my early life when I loved wearing the same ratty sweat pants for days at a time and hated showers. Ah, matrimony. I’m an actor and musician who is happiest when he’s making something with some good people.

What was it like filling Michael Beck’s shoes in the iconic role of Sonny?

I hadn’t seen the film until I got the show, to be honest. What I got from Michael is that Sonny’s one of those creative, driven people who maybe just needs that bit of luck, that bit of magic to make it all come together. While the show is a send-up of the film, I think it’s a loving send-up. So I just wanted to let Sonny be the creative guy he is while living in the silly world that this show creates. Also it wasn’t the shoes so much as the shorts.

“Xanadu” deals with mythology. If you had the ability to be a god in Greek mythology who would you be and why?

 I always thought Apollo had way more cool stuff than any other god. Like he’s got the chariot, he’s got the oracles, he’s got the music and poetry. I’ll go with Apollo. I’m not gonna look too much farther into that though because he probably did some messed up thing to someone in some myth and now I’ve associated myself with that nonsense… This is a trick question, isn’t it??

What can we look forward to seeing you in for the remainder of 2016 and 2017?

I’m taking the fall to focus on music, playing and hopefully getting some new writing done.

This or That special. Please choose one word from each that matches your personality the best:

Zeus or Hades: See, Zeus was a philanderer and Hades was a kidnapper… I’m telling you, this is a messed up…. Zeus.

Aphrodite or Athena: Athena! I like her. She didn’t do anything too funky, right?!

Mount Olympus or Pantheon: I always liked the Greeks better. Mt. Olympus

Xanadu or Chicago: Like the shows? Or like, would I rather live in Xanadu or Chicago? Either way, Chicago. But I got nothing but love for this show we’re doing.

History or The Future: Oooooh. The Future. Mainly for self-driving cars. Bring those on.

Ballet or Broadway:  Broadway! Comfier shoes!

Film or Theatre: Theatre. Unless you’re offering me a film…


You can catch their performances in “Xanadu” thru July 17 at the American Theater Company in Chicago.

*A Special Thanks to Landree Fleming, Jim DeSelm and Elizabeth Neukirch/The Silverman Group for the Interview and Image*

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